Venezuela's Maduro complains about U.S. cash-less authorizations

By Vivian Sequera

CARACAS, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday lashed out at U.S. licenses barring companies doing business with sanctioned Venezuelan state firms from paying cash to his administration.

Washington last year authorized U.S. and European firms to resume taking Venezuelan crude oil on the condition no funds be paid to Venezuela. Last week, the United States authorized Trinidad & Tobago to import gas from a Venezuelan offshore field and barred cash from changing hands.

The permits were part of U.S. President Joe Biden's move to encourage political talks between Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition with the main goal of securing a fair presidential election.

"They tell a country it has permission to negotiate with Venezuela, but it cannot pay in dollars or any form of cash. It must pay with food or products," Maduro said in a broadcast. "That is colonialism."

Maduro criticized the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which issued the licenses, and said it tries to dictate how to do business with Venezuela to state and private companies.

"It is a joke to sovereign countries. I call sovereign countries and governments in America and the Caribbean to denounce this colonial model. We do not accept it, we will go on our way," he said.

Maduro did not elaborate on any coming actions.

Following the license to Trinidad last week, Venezuela has not said publicly if it will negotiate with the Caribbean country.

(Reporting by Marianna Parraga)

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