United States imposes additional visa restrictions and sanctions against Venezuelan officials

Saul Bowman
March 2, 2019

"Venezuela today is completely at peace, a peace preserved by the constitutional government of President Nicolas Maduro, who is in full exercise of his legal powers and who guarantees the protection of national territory, as well as the well-being of the Venezuelan people and effective control over the country", Ambassador Samuel Moncada said.

The sanctions block any assets they have in U.S. jurisdictions and bar Americans from conducting financial transactions with them.

The United States targeted Venezuela's government with new sanctions on Monday and called on allies to freeze the assets of state-owned PDVSA after deadly violence blocked humanitarian aid from reaching the country over the weekend.

The six include Major General Richard Jesus Lopez Vargas, the commander of the Venezuelan National Guard.

The political dispute was sparked by the severe humanitarian crisis and collapsing economy in the oil-rich country, which have forced several million Venezuelans - about one-tenth of the population - to flee the country in the last few years.

Guaido had announced that last weekend's attempt to deliver USA -supplied humanitarian aid from Colombia into Venezuela would be politically decisive, but Maduro called the aid part of a scheme to overthrow his government.

The United States "will continue to target Maduro loyalists prolonging the suffering of the victims of this man-made humanitarian crisis", Mnuchin added.

Backing the rival sides in Venezuela, the United States and Russian Federation failed Thursday to get the deeply divided United Nations Security Council to take a stand on how to address the Latin American nation's political conflict and humanitarian crisis sparked by an economic downturn worse than the U.S. Great Depression. Brazil would spare no effort to help Guaido - within the law, Bolsonaro said.

"This has acquired special significance now that Venezuela is facing a frontal attack and unabashed interference in its domestic affairs", he said. In Geneve the Venezuelan foreign minister took part in the session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Defying a travel ban by Maduro, Guaido went first to Colombia to try to bring in the aid and to meet with visiting US Vice President Mike Pence.

Mr Guaido arrived in Brazil on Wednesday to meet with new far-right President Jair Bolsonaro as part of a tour of several countries aimed at ratcheting up worldwide pressure on Mr Maduro.

Immediately before the votes, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the United States of engaging in "shameless propaganda" with the goal of "regime change".

"Regardless of the results of today's vote, this resolution shows that democracies around the world, and especially in Latin America, are mobilizing behind interim President [Juan] Guaido", he said of the National Assembly leader who declared himself interim president January 23.

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