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Venezuela threatened Monday to take measures affecting energy and trade if the United States resorts to sanctions in a row over the disputed presidential election in Caracas earlier this month.
"If the United States takes recourse to economic sanctions, or sanctions of any other kind, we will take measures of a commercial, energy, economic and political order that we consider necessary," Foreign Minister Elias Jaua warned in a television interview.
The warning came amid a political crisis in Venezuela over opposition demands for a recount of April 14 election returns that gave President Nicolas Maduro a narrow win to replace the late Hugo Chavez.
US Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson was reported over the weekend to have urged a recount in order to give the public confidence in the outcome, which has been challenged by opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.
Asked whether the United States would impose sanctions if Venezuela refused to recount the votes, Jacobson said she could not say one way or another, according to CNN en Espanol.
In the interview from Quito, Ecuador with Telesur, a state-financed regional television network, Jaua said Venezuela held the United States responsible for post-election violence that left eight people dead.
"You can be certain that in the face of sanctions of any kind we will respond with economic , political, diplomatic actions to defend the sacred right of the will of the Venezuelan people," he said.
The United States imports some 900,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela, which produces between 2.3 million and three million barrels a day. Venezuela sits atop the world's largest proven crude oil reserves.