CARACAS, April 14 (Xinhua) -- The Venezuelan government on Sunday denounced the U.S. sanctions targeting its state-owned oil company PDVSA for the "criminal impact" on the Venezuelan people.
The sanctions blocked the country's access to oil revenues and its ability to pay for key social and health programs, the government said in a statement.
The sanctions "prevent the implementation of humanitarian aid programs for particularly difficult health cases," such as cancer, Parkinson's, epilepsy, and liver and bone marrow transplants, according to the statement.
These "types of sanctions, promoted by Venezuelan political players and dictated by the U.S. government, constitute a flagrant violation of the human rights of the patients affected," the government said.
The sanctions are also "diametrically opposed" to Washington's alleged concern for the welfare of Venezuelans and insistence on delivering humanitarian aid, it added.
Currently, some 25 patients are in Italy awaiting bone marrow transplants, but the government has been unable to access the funds to pay for the procedures, putting them at "grave risk."
Washington, which backs Venezuela's right-wing opposition and its campaign to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the ruling socialist party from power, stepped up financial and economic sanctions against Venezuela and its state-owned oil company at the beginning of the year.
The United States on Friday imposed additional sanctions on two companies and 24 ships linked to PDVSA. Earlier, it also announced sanctions on 34 freighters of PDVSA and transport companies.