Venezuela condemns US decision
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro

CARACAS, Venezuela (CMC) — Venezuela has condemned the decision by the United States to grant licences to countries and companies to resume taking crude oil from Caracas on the condition no funds be paid to Venezuela.

President Nicolas Maduro in a broadcast here, remained critical of Washington's decision to deny companies doing business with sanctioned Venezuelan state firms from paying cash to his administration.

"They tell a country it has permission to negotiate with Venezuela, but it cannot pay in dollars or any form of cash. It must pay with food or products," Maduro said, adding "that is colonialism".

On January 24, the Trinidad and Tobago government welcomed the decision by the United States Treasury Department to grant a licence to Port of Spain to develop a major gas field located in Venezuelan territorial waters.

"The United States government has today approved Trinidad and Tobago's development of the Dragon gas field via an OFAC waiver from sanctions with specific terms to be finalised," Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said.

What this means is that the restrictions on the Dragon gas fields development is now relieved and all relevant parties can progress the plans to result in natural gas from Venezuela eventually flowing for the first time from these proven reserves to Trinidad and Tobago and then on to Caribbean, European, and other markets bringing much humanitarian benefits to the Venezuelan population and greater energy security to the Caribbean region".

Venezuela has not said publicly if it will negotiate with Trinidad and Tobago, and Rowley acknowledged that while there are "still a lot more work to be done".

The US licence means Trinidad and Tobago will be allowed to resume doing business with Venezuelan heavily sanctioned state-run oil company PDVSA, even though the Maduro regime in Caracas will not be permitted to receive any cash payments from this project.

In his broadcast on Thursday, President Maduro criticised the U S Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which issued the licences, and said it is trying to dictate how to do business with Venezuela state and private companies.

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