Venezuelan Officials Blame Trump as Country Nears Bankruptcy under Maduro

As Venezuela edges closer towards bankruptcy, which could further accelerate the nation’s chaos under president Nicolas Maduro, government officials have started to blame U.S. President Donald Trump for the potential crisis, Newsweek reports.

“We are starting an era where the dictatorship of the ‘dollar boss’ will not be imposed and we’re ridding ourselves from this supposed threat of Trump,” Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami said on state-run TV in September.

Trump imposed sanctions over the summer on Venezuela as Maduro tightened his grip on the country and effectively turned it into an authoritarian regime, Newsweek adds. The Maduro’s government is now blaming Trump for a debt crisis that has hovered over the nation for years. However, Trump and Congress said Maduro is getting exactly what he deserves for his violent rule.

“They do not have the economy, they’ve made terrible economic decisions. Their moment is coming.” Senator Marco Rubio told CNBC Tuesday. Venezuela’s state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) faces a $984 million debt deadline on Friday. Reports this week said the company has made good on two missed interest payments and earmarked money ahead of the deadline, Newsweek writes.

However, PDVSA also has to ensure a $1.2 billion maturing bond payment by November 2, or else lose control of the U.S.-based oil company Citgo. Fears of Venezuela going bankrupt have spread since at least 2014, when plummeting oil prices were taking a toll on Venezuela’s economy.

In recent months, PDVSA has struggled to make payments on multimillion-dollar bonds. Furthermore, rating agency Fitch in late August downgraded Venezuela’s credit to “CC” – two ratings above default. The agency followed in the footsteps of Standard & Poor, which rated Venezuela’s rating to “junk” in July, Newsweek notes.

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