By Bayram Altug
GENEVA (AA) – The UN human rights chief warned Wednesday that the U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan oil companies could aggravate the country's economic crisis.
Michelle Bachelet said that the recent U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan oil firms may worsen Venezuela's economic situation and "contribute to aggravating the economic crisis".
Speaking to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Bachelet stated that the recent power outage in Venezuela hurt people's access to food, water and medical care.
Venezuela is in the throes of a humanitarian and political crisis.
National Assembly President Juan Guaido declared himself the country's interim president in January, insisting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro step down.
The U.S. and dozens of other nations have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's rightful leader as Maduro insists he is the target of a U.S.-orchestrated coup.
The political stalemate comes as Venezuela grapples with a worsening economic crisis that has led to widespread shortages of goods throughout the country and seen Venezuela's national power grid collapse for a week.
Venezuela's economy has been in precipitous decline following a global downturn in the price of crude oil, the country's main export.
Turkey, Russia, Iran, Cuba, China and Bolivia have maintained their support for Maduro.
Washington has led an international campaign to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on Maduro, including sanctioning the country's state-owned oil company and blacklisting Venezuelan officials who have remained loyal to him.
*Writing by Can Erozden