Venezuela accused America’s top diplomat Tuesday of boasting about stealing millions of dollars belonging to its people, alluding to the Trump administration’s policy of seizing fuel shipments destined for the country as part of its sanctions policy against the Maduro government.
In a post on Twitter, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said that sooner or later, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will face justice for such “criminal” activity.
He ended the tweet by mocking Pompeo over the fact that his time at the White House will end in just a few days.
Arreaza’s remarks came in response to a tweet by Pompeo earlier in the day on the US policy of seizing fuel shipments destined for Venezuela being supplied by Iran, which is among the closest allies of the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
In his tweet, Pompeo mentioned that the seized fuel shipments were worth $40 million, adding the money from the confiscated fuel went to the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund.
The seizure of four Liberia-flagged oil tankers carrying 1.1 million barrels of fuel from Iran to Venezuela occurred last August.
The tankers are owned and managed by the Greece-based firms Vienna LTD and Palermo SA. After Washington warned these firms that they would be sanctioned for doing business with Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, they decided to surrender the shipment, sending it to Houston, Texas.
The exchange on social media between Pompeo and Arreaza illustrates the tense relationship that exists between the US and Venezuelan governments. It also raises the question of whether the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden will continue President Donald Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” on Venezuela or reevaluate its desirability and effectiveness.
Reporting by Jorge Jraissati in Caracas, Venezuela