Venezuela has sent a letter of protest to the United States over Washington’s new sanctions imposed on Venezuelan officials for allegedly cracking down on the country’s opposition.
Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said in a press conference on Friday that the letter was delivered to the US embassy in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.
Rodriguez added that the letter was an “emphatic note of protest” against US President Barack Obama’s executive order issued earlier this month.
On March 9, US President Barack Obama signed the order, labeling Venezuela an “extraordinary threat to national security.”
Under Obama’s order, the US property and bank accounts of seven Venezuelan officials, including former national guard chief Antonio Benavides, intelligence chief Gustavo Gonzales and national police chief Manuel Perez, will be frozen and they will be denied US visas.
Washington accuses the officials of rights violations in relation to last year’s protests in Venezuela.
Rodriguez further said the protest message “vehemently rejects” the US claim that Caracas is a threat, calling on Washington to revoke the order.
The decree “interferes in Venezuela’s internal affairs by labeling (the country) an unusual and extraordinary threat,” stated the top diplomat, adding, “We are delivering this note of vehement protest against the government of the United States in response to this legal blight.”
Rodriguez also said most countries in the world supported Caracas in its conflict with Washington, urging the US to “stop the aggressions and repeal the executive order.”
International and regional blocs, such as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Group of 77 plus China, Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), Union of South American Nations, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) have all condemned the decree signed by Obama, according to Rodriguez.
“This widespread support should make the government of the United States of America rethink and repeal the executive order. The world is telling Obama and his administration to stop the aggression against Venezuela,” said the foreign minister.
Rodriguez expressed Venezuela’s willingness to engage in dialogue with Washington provided that the talks are “clear” and “based on mutual respect.”
On March 12, Maduro described Washington as Venezuela’s “only enemy,” saying it is the United States that poses the “real” security threat to his country and the entire world.
Caracas and Washington have been at odds since late Hugo Chavez became Venezuela’s president in 1999. Both sides have refused to exchange ambassadors since 2010.