Venezuela targets Guaido with probe, travel ban, asset freeze

Venezuela's Guaido expresses concern over Greek position | News

National Security Advisor John Bolton tweeted another warning to Maduro against intimidating Guaido or the National Assembly, saying it would be "a grave assault on the rule of law and will be met with a significant response".

"Maduro has created an economic, political and humanitarian crisis". When asked if the US was ruling out military action in the instance that Maduro refuses to cede power, Mulvaney said, "I don't think any president of any party who's doing his or her job would be doing the job properly if they took anything off the table".

"The Maduro crime family has used PDVSA to buy and keep the support of many military leaders, " the Florida Republican said.

Mexico and Iraq are instead most likely to benefit in the race to replace Venezuela heavy crude imported for processing at refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, analysts at RBC Capital Markets said in a report.

The move was immediately welcomed by the United States, which urged Maduro to step down and officially recognized Guaido as the country's leader.

Moscow is assessing the impact on Russian Federation of the sanctions and intends to use all legal mechanisms at its disposable to protect Russia's interests in Venezuela in light of the sanctions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"Today's designation of PDVSA will help prevent further diverting of Venezuela's assets by Maduro and preserve these assets for the people of Venezuela".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certified that Guaido, the congressional leader who has declared himself interim president, has authority to take control of bank accounts that Venezuela's government has in the Federal Reserve Bank of NY or any other U.S. -insured banks.

PDVSA becomes a Specially Designated National, meaning USA citizens are generally prohibited from dealing with it. Inclusion on this list is a powerful tool with the potential to curb trade in Venezuelan oil far beyond US borders.

"Since August 2017, Canada has been working closely as a member of the Lima group, which is comprised of over a dozen Latin American countries and the Caribbean, to address the Venezuelan crisis", Freeland said.

"If the people in Venezuela want to continue to sell us oil, as long as that money goes into blocked accounts, we'll continue to take it".

PDVSA is also seeking to sidestep the sanctions by asking major buyers, including USA refiners, to renegotiate contracts, sources said.

Valero and Citgo are among the largest importers of Venezuelan crude.

Since being elected head of the National Assembly legislature last month, Mr Guaido has managed to rally a previously disunited opposition.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sanctions completely undermined confidence in an global financial system that is dominated by the U.S.

Venezuela is very reliant on the U.S. for its oil revenue.

"Russia is doing everything to support the lawful government of Maduro", he said, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said historical experience showed foreign interference "only makes situations more complicated".

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