CARACAS, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Venezuela has over 3 billion U.S. dollars blocked in the international financial system due to U.S. economic sanctions, Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza said at a meeting with international observers Friday, ahead of Sunday's local elections.
In an apparent reference to the European Union adopting similar measures against Venezuela, Arreaza lamented what he described as the bloc's "extreme subordination" to Washington.
In August, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting Americans or those living in the United States from dealing in new debt and equity issued by the government of Venezuela and its state oil company. The order also prohibited dividend payments to the Venezuelan government.
The White House said the measures were "carefully calibrated" to deny the Venezuelan government "a critical source of financing."
Venezuela has been grappling with a severe economic crisis sparked by plummeting oil prices. The government of President Nicolas Maduro says the crisis has been aggravated by the "economic warfare" unleashed by the U.S.-backed right-wing opposition.
Arreaza reaffirmed that the presidential elections will take place next year and the presence of international observers will be crucial.