Venezuelan Oil Minister to Switch Places With PDVSA Chief

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For the first time, the USA has imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela.

Referring to this week's meeting between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Venezuelan opposition leaders in Miami, Maduro said that "a meeting like never before between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and a group of fugitives from the Venezuelan justice system was held yesterday".

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.

Trump had on August 11 issued a surprise threat to Maduro, warning that the U.S might intervene in the chaos enveloping the South American country. "We have many options for Venezuela, I'm not ruling out military options".

The Trump administration is planning to unveil another round of sanctions on Friday created to punish the government of Venezuela, according to two people familiar with the matter. Trump signed an executive order barring dealings in new bonds and stocks issued by the government and the state oil company, PDVSA.

Barring Venezuelan debt purchases could cripple Caracas' ability to raise money to pay off interest on its growing national debt, as the oil-producing country has been doing in the middle of an unprecedented economic collapse.

Vice President Mike Pence addressed a sympathetic crowd of Venezuelans in South Florida on Wednesday and pledged the US will use its economic and diplomatic power to push for free elections. "Under the leadership of President Donald Trump, the United States of America will continue to bring the full measure of American economic and diplomatic power to bear until democracy is restored in Venezuela".

Powerball Winner Talks Lucky Numbers Quitting Job
Powerball Winner Talks Lucky Numbers Quitting Job

Venezuelans who oppose the regime argue that when banks buy the government's bonds, they extend a financial lifeline to a dictatorship. "We will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles", he added.

"We are studying the (U.S.) executive order". The oil refiner Citgo - owned by Venezuela but based in Houston - is also exempt.

"No military actions are anticipated in the near future", McMaster said. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, when asked a few minutes later to elaborate, said, "We leave all options on the table and we're not taking any of those things off".

USA vice president Mike Pence had signalled the upcoming move earlier, tweeting that the U.S. "will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles".

Venezuela will "take all measures at its disposal", said Arreaza.

The ex-mayor and other right-wing politicians urged Pence to push for greater sanctions on Venezuela, according to AP.

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