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Maduro Op-Ed Urges U.S. Not to Impose Venezuela Sanctions

The New York Times published an op-ed on Wednesday from Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, in which he urged the U.S. not to impose sanctions and not to give aid to opposition groups in his country.

"Today, the Obama administration spends at least $5 million annually to support opposition movements in Venezuela," Maduro wrote, adding a bill for an additional $15 million is now in Congress. And that Congress is also debating imposing sanctions.

"I hope that the American people, knowing the truth, will decide that Venezuela and its people do not deserve such punishment," the op-ed stated.

Image: TOPSHOTS-VENEZUELA-POLITICS-OPPOSITION
An anti-government activist clashes with riot police during a protest in Caracas on April 1, 2014. In FEDERICO PARRA / AFP - Getty Images

On Tuesday, Maria Corina Machado, a legislator and leader of Venezuela's opposition, was not allowed to enter the National Assembly as hundreds rallied in her support outside the building. Machado was stripped of her mandate last month.

Amnesty International issued a report Monday stating that according to allegations they have received, "the country’s security forces have resorted to the excessive use of force, including the use of live fire, and even torture when dealing with protesters." The group said the violence threatens the country's rule of law.

In the two months since the opposition clashes started, 36 people have reportedly been killed.

-- Sandra Lilley