Debt worries, new USA restrictions increase pressure on Venezuela's Maduro

Venezuela's Guaido expresses concern over Greek position | News

Canada to host Lima group Feb. 4 in effort to find solution to Venezuela crisis

It has so far stood by Maduro, who has kept officers' support in part by granting them control of key state institutions like PDVSA, although the company's output has collapsed in just over a year of military rule.

New U.S. sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil giant not only place more pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's regime, but also on some U.S. refiners that rely on crude imports from the country.

White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Monday the new measures would cost Maduro $11 billion in lost export proceeds over the next year and block him from accessing PDVSA assets worth $7 billion.

Venezuela's attorney general, Tarek Saab, has asked the country's supreme court to open a preliminary investigation against self-proclaimed president Juan Guaidó, and to freeze the opposition leader's accounts.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday, however, that the sanctions, aren't expected to have a significant impact on oil or gasoline prices, claiming that "our friends in the Middle East will be happy to make up the supply".

But a dozen Latin American countries have recognized Guaido and six European nations - Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain - have said they would follow suit unless Maduro calls elections by February 3.

Pompeo, however, warned Maduro not to "test the United States on our resolve to protect our people". Washington later said that it would conduct diplomatic relations through the government of "interim president".

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has declared himself interim president.

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Barr also revealed a meeting with Trump at the White House on December 5 of a year ago , the same day of President George H.W. He continued, "I really am not going to talk about an open an ongoing investigation otherwise".

Maduro on Sunday visited a military base in the northern state of Carabobo, exhorting the audience to be "Traitors never, loyal always", televised images showed.

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

Maduro was elected in May last year with 67.84 percent of the votes, and he was sworn in as president on January 10 for another six-year term.

First, Guaido called on Venezuelans to mount a peaceful, two-hour, midday protest Wednesday "to demand that the armed forces side with the people".

As tensions between Maduro and Guaido continue, officials and experts worldwide have voiced concern over the situation, calling for dialogue to ease tension without outside influence.

The United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela and PDVSA in 2017 that prevented Citgo from repatriating dividends to its parent company.

Guaido met with officials from the United States and from the Lima Group, in order to drum up support for the fractious opposition - according to an unnamed Canadian official quoted by the AP, it is "the first time in at least five years the opposition has shown an ability to come together in any meaningful manner".

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