By Vivian Sequeira
CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday criticized U.S. licenses that prevent companies doing business with Venezuelan government agencies from paying his government.
Last year, Washington authorized U.S. and European companies to buy back Venezuelan crude on the condition that Venezuela was not paid. Last week, the United States authorized Trinidad and Tobago to import gas from an offshore Venezuelan field and prevented money from changing hands.
The recognitions were part of US President Joe Biden’s move to encourage political talks between Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition with the main aim of guaranteeing a fair presidential election.
“They’re telling a country that trade with Venezuela is allowed, but you can’t pay in dollars or in any kind. You have to pay with food or products,” Maduro said in a broadcast. “That’s colonialism.”
Maduro criticized the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which issued the licenses, and said it was trying to dictate how government and private companies could do business with Venezuela.
“This is a joke for sovereign nations. I call on sovereign nations and the governments of the United States and the Caribbean to condemn this colonial model. We will not accept it and we will go our way,” he said.
Maduro did not provide details on next steps.
After Trinidad’s license last week, Venezuela has not said publicly whether it will hold talks with the Caribbean nation.
(Reporting by Marianna Baraka)
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