Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

United States imposes strict sanctions against Venezuela's 'corrupt regime'

United States imposes strict sanctions against Venezuela's 'corrupt regime'

Nicolas Maduro was once again sworn in as Venezuela's President for a second term, from 2019 to 2025, here on Thursday.

Hatami will attend the inauguration of President Nicolás Maduro on January 10th in Caracas, Venezuela.

The United States of America has imposed sanctions against seven individuals and 23 entities believed to be involved in a corruption scheme to exploit Venezuela's currency exchange practices.

Brussels has repeatedly criticised the elections that returned Maduro to office as unfair and the European Union and its 28 member states shunned his inauguration to a new six-year mandate on Thursday.

Argentina and Peru went one step further and cut back on their diplomatic ties with Venezuela.

After being presented with the presidential sash, an ebullient Maduro turned to salute the crowd with a V-sign. USA banks are also banned from doing business with Venezuela, putting a financial strangle-hold on the cash-strapped country.

"Those who refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Venezuela's institutions will be given a reciprocal and opportune response, we'll act very firmly", said Maduro, who has the support of the military and the controversial Constitutional Assembly that he created a year ago to bypass parliament.

Earlier this week, Venezuela Supreme Court judge Christian Zerpa fled to the USA in protest over President Nicolás Maduro winning a second term, arguing that the election "was not free and fair".

"It's not the president's fault", said Frances Velazquez, a 43-year-old mother of two who survives with the help of government-subsidized boxes of rice, flour and cooking oil. Maduro's government has jailed or driven into exile its most popular leaders. Velazquez blamed opportunists who drive up the prices of scarce items for making life hard for families like hers.

"According to a U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity to freely discuss sensitive issues, Maduro's defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López, told the president last month to resign or accept his resignation, threat that has not yet executed, "the newspaper reported in an article where it indicates that the Venezuelan crisis is sharpened from one day to another".

He pointed out the irony of living in a nation with the world's most abundant oil reserves yet having to wait in line overnight to fill three canisters of natural gas to cook at home.

Anti-government politicians successfully rallied thousands to the streets across Venezuela for four months of demonstrations in 2017, when clashes with government forces left more than 120 protesters dead and thousands injured.

Pompeo, in the midst of an Africa and Middle East visit, said in a statement that Washington will continue to use all its economic and diplomatic power to push for Venezuelan democracy to be restored, according to US views.

Maduro has successfully maintained power, opposed by a fractured opposition. It predicts that number will reach 5.3 million by the end of this year.

"He still has control of the institutions", Smilde said.

Like this: