Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Rubio praises Trump for new Venezuela sanctions

In February, Vice President Tareck El Aissami became the the highest-ranking Venezuelan hit by USA sanctions under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act for alleged ties to drug trafficking and one of the most-senior government leaders of any country listed by the Treasury Department under its various sanctions authorities.

President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of inciting violence by calling people on to the streets.

Venezuela has been rocked by protests as people take to the streets to protest the Maduro regime's power grab.

On May 1, President Nicolas Maduro called for a new Constitution as a way to overcome the political crisis, and pushed for forming a constituent assembly to draft the document.

In a state broadcast Tuesday night, President Nicolas Maduro criticized Venezuelan expatriates who have been yelling at Venezuelan officials in other countries, or who use social media to post photos of officials living it up overseas while the country struggles with triple-digit inflation and food shortages.

US President Donald Trump has described Venezuela's crisis as a "disgrace". But sanctions so far have stopped short of hit ting the oil sector in Venezuela, which is a major USA oil supplier.

Top military commanders announced they were sending 2,000 national guardsmen and 600 troopers from special operation forces to Tachira, a mountainous state along Venezuela's border with Colombia where Guerrero and two others have been killed during protests since Monday.

In New York on Wednesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned of the consequences of "serious instability" in the country.

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Godoy Calderon said "everything the Venezuela opposition and media say about the country is false".

Protesters are demanding elections to kick out the socialist government that they accuse of wrecking the economy and turning Venezuela into a dictatorship.

"In the recent past they had discussions about the two countries and the president [gave] the reasons why things are happening in Venezuela and the Honourable Freundel Stuart heard what he was saying", Perez said.

Venezuela's United Nations ambassador Rafael Ramirez accused the USA of encouraging violent elements within Venezuela seeking to topple the Maduro government.

In February, the United States blacklisted Venezuela n Vice President Tareck El Aissami for alleged links to drug trafficking. He called Venezuela's problems a domestic matter and said Maduro's government is trying to resolve them and will not allow any outside interference.

Another person was killed in the ongoing clashes between anti-government demonstrators and police in Venzuela. The Washington-based Organization of American States is holding a rare foreign ministers council session on the troubled South American nation later this month.

But some opposition sympathizers say such mob-like harassment is the wrong way to confront the government.

"As President Trump has said, Venezuela is a disaster". On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council discussed the crisis in Venezuela for the first time at the request of the United States.

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