USA to announce new Venezuela sanctions

USA to announce new Venezuela sanctions

US Vice President Mike Pence urged Maduro on Monday to suspend a divisive May 20 election he denounced as a "sham", as Washington slapped fresh sanctions on Maduro's regime.

Pence also announced that the Trump administration is sanctioning three prominent Venezuelans connected to Maduro, in addition to various economic sanctions already in place.

Mr Maduro, the USA vice president said in a speech to the Organisation of American States, "promised people he would restore prosperity but delivered only deep poverty".

"We have frozen their assets, blocked their access to our nation, so they can no longer poison our people with their deadly drugs", Pence said.

Moncada also argued the US aims to "stop the May 20 elections in Venezuela", through new sanctions and diplomatic aggression, and accused the USA of committing an global crime.

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Elections in Venezuela are traditionally held in December, but the country's National Electoral Council scheduled the contest for spring - a move critics say aims to take advantage of divisions within the opposition. Maduro asked a crowd in a rally on Tuesday in southern Amazonas state, condemning the USA president and vice president for sanctions on his government.

In his speech in front of the Organization of American States in Washington, Pence also urged other nations to take a tougher stance against a country controlled by a totalitarian regime linked to Raúl Castro's Cuba.

The Treasury Department said in a statement that Martin used his government position to accept bribes from drug traffickers, and helped facilitate the movement of multi-ton loads of cocaine through Venezuelan airspace. The U.S. State Department has said not all political parties have agreed to the elections, limiting the ability of individuals to run.

Trump has so far opted not to impose new oil-related sanctions that it has considered for a Venezuelan oil services company and on insurance coverage for tankers carrying Venezuelan oil, though the measures are still under consideration, one administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

US oil major ConocoPhillips has moved to take Caribbean assets of PDVSA to enforce a $2 billion arbitration award, three sources told Reuters.