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Venezuela News, Facts & Protests: President Nicolas Maduro Opposes US Sanctions, Gets Support From Russia

First Posted: Jun 01, 2014 09:51 AM EDT

Venezuela continues to oppose any potentials sanctions by the United States. Instead, President Nicolas Maduro has chastised the U.S. government for threatening the use of sanction, however, the Obama administration has asked Congress to stall them in favor of negotiations.

BBC reported that the House of Representatives approved sanctions against Venezuela on Thursday, which would impose travel bans and freeze bank accounts of some Venezuela government officials. Though the White House and some Democrats oppose them, saying the sanctions would derail negotiations, the talks ended when the mediators could not bring both sides back to the table.

With the passage of sanctions looming closer, President Maduro praised President Obama's call on Congress to vote down the sanctions, according to The Associated Press. Obama's stance on the issue has led to Maduro nominating a new ambassador to the U.S. He argued on Thursday, that sanctions could "lead to the point of not having an embassy or consulates in the United States."

"That's an extreme point that I want to avoid," Maduro said during a televised event. "I want the best relations with the government of the United States, based on respect and permanent communications."

Since the beginning of the protests in February, more than 40 people have been killed on both sides, and the Maduro administration has faced accusation of human rights abuses. But even before the uprising, the AP reported tensions between the two countries considering that there has been no diplomatic exchange since 2010.

While Venezuela remains steadfast on its opposition to sanctions, it has gathered surprising support from Russia. According to EFE, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that he opposed any foreign interference in Venezuela's affairs.

"All problems should be solved on the constitutional basis, without external interference, as well as without sanctions or threats to impose them," Lavrov said, following talks with Venezuelan counterpart, Elias Jaua.

Russia supports efforts to reconcile peacefully through dialogue, however, Russia could retaliate against U.S. sanctions on their country following the annexation of Crimea. Still, the sanctions are going forward.

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