Maduro Defends Venezuela's Right to Export Gold Amid Looming US Sanctions

Presidency showing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivering a speech while his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro listens during the Venezuela Turkey Business Forum in Caracas

"We are moving forward with the plan on gold output as the new source of prosperity", Maduro stated, as cited by media, after the meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday. "These attempts will only further deepen instabilities, you can not punish an entire people for political disagreements based on bitter experiences of the past", Erdogan explained.

The Venezuelan government has been facing a series of U.S. embargoes targeting its economy and the country's officials since 2014, under the pretext of alleged human rights abuses and threats to United States national security.

"We do not interfere in the trade of the USA or other countries, nobody should interfere with our commercial and economic activities", he said, stressing that the South American country would continue to legally export its gold resources.

In the face of such threats, Ankara will work to enhance trade ties with Venezuela to help the Latin American state deal with its economic crisis, Erdogan said. "We have strong potentials in our economic relations with Venezuela", Erdogan said. According to the United States administration, Washington was seeking to prevent the Venezuelan authorities from plundering the country's property and harm Venezuela's infrastructure and environment.

Maduro contends he is the victim of an "economic war" led by US-backed adversaries.

Maduro defends Venezuela’s right to sell gold amid US sanctions push
In Caracas, Erdogan slams sanctions on Venezuela

"It is very petty to try to use an illegal sanction to prevent Venezuela from selling its gold to the world", Maduro said. Turkey this year has become the largest importer of non-monetary gold from Venezuela.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, right, embraces Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a joint press conference at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. Ties between Turkey and the United States, two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, have also been strained.

He underlined his confidence that Turkish investors would "act on the interests of both countries", praising the "beautiful" buildings erected in the South America country by Turkish firms. Washington imposed tariffs on Turkish imports earlier this year, prompting retaliatory measures from Ankara.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said he is on his way to Moscow for an "important meeting" with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

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