Venezuela says U.S. sanctions designed to push Venezuela to default

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro talks to the media during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump’s executive order prohibiting dealings in new debt from the Venezuelan government or its state oil company PDVSA was designed to push the crisis-hit country into default and essentially forces the closure of its U.S. refining unit Citgo. Maduro added in a TV address from the presidential palace that a preliminary analysis showed the sanctions would impede Venezuela’s crude exports to the United States.

Reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Girish Gupta; Editing by Alexandra Ulmer and James Dalgleish