US Imposes First Economic Sanctions Against Venezuela

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Under Nicolas Maduro, citizens are being starved and denied basic rights. Immigration authorities in Colombia announced that Venezuela's ousted chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz is on her way to Brazil.

The Maduro regime is running out of money.

Under the new sanctions, USA banks are now barred from "dealings in new debt and equity issued by the government of Venezuela and its state oil company", the White House said in a statement.

President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order to impose new financial sanctions on the Venezuelan government, which his administration considers a "dictatorship". Trump's executive order forbids Americans from making deals involving new debt and equity issued by the regime or its oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA, which largely underwrites. There has been a lot of talk about these sanctions and although they have not yet come to pass-mostly on concern that this would severely affect Gulf Coast refineries-they are still on the table in Washington.

As other countries in Latin America have improved their economies, Venezuela has gone downhill, Pence said, calling Maduro's presidency, a "dictatorship". "We urge the opposing parties to stop the pointless violent confrontation", the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on July 31.

Mnuchin, however, left the door open for rolling back these sanctions if the Maduro regime restores democratic processes. He went on to say that, "Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they're dying". It adds that his actions have moved Venezuela closer and closer to default.

The White House said it would allow certain exceptions, such as for humanitarian aid, in order "to mitigate harm to the American and Venezuelan people".

The announcement Friday is likely to worsen Venezuela's economic depression, which has resulted in mass demonstrations against Maduro's government and a hardline crackdown on the country's political opposition. Days after that vote, Maduro's assets were also frozen.

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"The birthright of the Venezuelan people has always been and will always be libertad", he wrote, using the Spanish word for "freedom".

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, said Arreaza, seeks to spark "a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela", which is already reeling from galloping inflation and shortages of basic goods. But it's unclear how quickly the impact on the streets will be felt.

Also, the state oil company is the target of possible sanctions by the Trump administration.

"We will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Friday.

Speaking at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Arreaza said "threats" and "supposed sanctions" from the United States are "uncivilized politics".

This is the fourth round of sanctions that the federal government has enacted against Venezuela.

As NPR's Laurel Wamsley reported at the time, the pressure was aimed at preventing Venezuela from going forward with a controversial election to form an all-powerful National Constituent Assembly.

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