Venezuelan Petroleum Minister Manuel Quevedo has denounced U.S. sanctions against Caracas as a "direct attack" on its citizens.
His comments come at a time when the oil-rich, but cash-poor, country is suffering the Western Hemisphere's worst humanitarian crisis in recent memory.
"The powers of the United States are out in front of this attack," Quevedo told CNBC at the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee Meeting (JMMC) in Baku, Azerbaijan on Monday.
"With a political objective, they are trying to economically choke our country, our people, and appropriate our petroleum wealth."
The U.S. imposed targeted crude sanctions against Venezuela's state oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) and resources sector in January, choking a critical source of revenue for President Nicolas Maduro's embattled government.
Quevedo, a former National Guard official who also serves as the head of the state oil company, has been personally sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for his involvement in funding the regime through PDVSA.