U.S. Ramps Up Pressure on Venezuela, But Maduro Keeps Hanging On

27 September, 2018, 15:30 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro then Constituent National Assembly President Delcy Rodriguez left and first lady Cilia Flores wave as they arrive to the National Assembly in Caracas Venezuela. The Tr

The United States issued a new round of sanctions against Venezuela on September 25, hours before President Donald Trump excoriated the socialist regime in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly.

Maduro is probably on the plane from Caracas to NY after hearing this. Both nations have denied all knowledge and involvement.

Maduro called for a United Nations investigation into an August 4 attack that was alleged to be an assassination attempt created to trigger violence and provide a reason for an invasion.

He also invited the United Nations - and even the FBI - to investigate the attempt "and discover the truth".

It's the first time that member countries have referred another country to the Netherlands-based United Nations court.

Earlier on Wednesday, Canada's Trudeau said the complaint by the six countries would send the message that the situation in Venezuela is catastrophic and they needed to help Venezuelans out of the humanitarian crisis.

"Because that's what Canadians expect: That we stand up not just for ourselves but for everyone", Trudeau said. "They are trying to build a dossier to justify an global intervention".

Maduro refuted the United Nations refugee numbers, saying in September that only 600,000 left the country and that 9 in 10 want to come back.

"The oligarchies of the continent - and those who rule them from Washington - want political control of Venezuela", he said.

On Tuesday, the Treasury Department announced new sanctions against Cilia Adela Flores de Maduro, the former attorney general and president of the National Assembly.

Despite the conciliatory tone, Trump said that Washington would prefer to keep all options - including military ones - open.

At the podium in the U.N. General Assembly where Trump had bashed him a day earlier, Maduro did not soften his tone or his message. Just last week he had said he would likely skip the meeting (as he did last year) due to security concerns.

On Tuesday, the USA treasury imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela's First Lady, which the socialist called "illegal unilateral sanctions".

Once landing in the lion's den, Maduro met with two men who symbolize adversarial relations with the United States - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Maduro's trip came a day after the Trump administration imposed financial sanctions on four members of his inner circle, including his wife and Venezuela's vice president, on allegations of corruption.

Separately, a group of Latin American nations will present a complaint in NY on Wednesday against the Maduro administration for alleged human rights abuses to be investigated by the International Criminal Court, officials said.

Maduro arrived in NY for the potential meeting with Trump on Wednesday after initially saying he would not attend UNGA.

As a backdrop to the diplomatic maneuvering were rumbles of even more dramatic action. Venezuela has been the target of harsh criticism by Trump and his allies in recent months as conservatives have attempted to portray socialism as the cause of the country's hyperinflation and high level of poverty.

Venezuela was once among the wealthiest nations in Latin America, but the economy has been gutted by falling oil prices, reduced oil output and widespread incompetence and corruption.

US pressure on Maduro has increased as the South American nation deals with hyperinflation, food shortages and declining oil production.



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