USA sanctions Venezuelans including ex-intelligence official

Pence urged other OAS member countries to help the USA increase pressure on the Maduro regime by cutting off "Venezuela's corrupt leaders from laundering money through your financial systems" and by enacting visa restrictions to block their travel.

"There will be no real election in Venezuela on May 20, and the world knows it", Pence said at a meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington. The US state department has said not all political parties have agreed to the elections, limiting the ability of individuals to run. Venezuelan President Nicolas "Maduro and his acolytes have already ensured that their reign of corruption, crime, narco-trafficking, and terror will continue".

"Suspend this sham election".

Meanwhile, new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a speech in Washington that "a dictator in Venezuela paralyzes its economy and starves its people", urging for U.S. action.

The new sanctions continue a pattern of stepped-up US measures on individuals connected to Maduro, who is blamed by President Donald Trump's administration for a deep recession and hyperinflation in OPEC member Venezuela that has caused food shortages and sent a flood of migrants into neighbouring countries.

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The Trump administration has also been weighing new oil-related sanctions on a Venezuelan oil services company and on insurance coverage for tankers carrying Venezuelan oil. Twenty companies tied to those men are also under sanction.

Pence also dismissed the country's upcoming presidential elections, which Maduro is widely expected to "win", having banned most opposition candidates from running and relying on his regime's sophisticated use of voter fraud systems.

"The time has come to open Venezuela to worldwide aid, and do it now", Pence said.

The Venezuelan official assured Pence that he represents the "most racist and intolerant government in recent decades, most aggressive and most humiliating" of America, who "is threatening the entire region, extorting and coercing the entire region". He said the spread of disease, chaos, and drugs associated with Venezuela's collapse shows "consequences will radiate around our hemisphere". The Venezuelan government has said that it fears sectors of the right-wing opposition will carry out violent attacks on election day with the foreign assistance.

  • Adam Floyd