The US government is buying a $1.4bn stake in a Venezuelan energy company

President Donald Trump’s administration is buying the stake in the state-owned energy giant PDVSA, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The US government’s approval of the deal comes amid heightened tensions between Venezuela and the United States over its ongoing economic crisis and protests.

The deal was approved by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a division of the US Department of Justice, the WSJ said. 

It is the largest foreign investment by a US company in a single transaction in the country’s history. 

The company, which supplies gas and oil to about half the world’s population, has been struggling to get by since President Nicolas Maduro declared a nationwide strike in late 2016, which prompted the government to seize power. 

 It said it would seek a waiver from the US sanctions imposed on Maduro for PDVSCA in exchange for $3bn in cash payments and other assistance. 

In January, Trump said he would consider a US exit from the deal if Venezuela did not deliver on the countrys commitment to its international obligations. 

“Venezuela has made huge sacrifices in order to get here,” Trump said during a speech in Georgia.

“I would not do anything to make them suffer anymore.” 

 President Maduro is also facing criticism from the opposition for his handling of the crisis. 

His government has jailed more than 3,000 people since taking power in a February 2015 coup.