Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

United States imposes sanctions on officials in Venezuela

United States imposes sanctions on officials in Venezuela

Washington's staunchest ally in the region - condemned any "military measures and the use of force" that encroach on Venezuela's sovereignty.

The assault highlighted the growing volatility in the oil-rich but economically-ailing country after four months of sustained anti-government protests and unrest in which more than 120 people have been killed. Critics say the government feared a thumping at the polls amid a crushing economic crisis that has collapsed support for its socialist revolution.

The United Nations' human rights office said earlier this month that Venezuelan security forces have used excessive force and arbitrarily detained thousands of people.

On Friday Peru expelled Venezuela's ambassador after Caracas sent an "unacceptable" response to regional condemnation of its new constituent assembly.

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"If the impossible scenario of tarnishing our fatherland were ever to occur, our guns would arrive to New York, Mr. Trump, and we would take the White House", said Nicolas Maduro, the president's son, to loud applause.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will begin a two-day official visit Sunday to Colombia after President Donald Trump threatened neighboring Venezuela with potential military action. He said the people in Venezuela were "suffering and they are dying". "We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary". The Venezuelan government said it would respond later on Friday to Trump's threat of intervention.

Trump has explained that he takes these meetings in the name of diplomacy, arguing that it is best to at least have a dialogue open even with those who may be your opposition.

South American trading bloc Mercosur has spoken against Mr. Trump's latest comments on the Venezuela situation.

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The US government has sanctioned more than 20 Venezuelan government officials in the last few weeks.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stated that a new constitution would help resolve the nation's political standoff.

During his participation in the event, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro stated that "a regional dialogue is needed and I propose to ALBA and the powerful leaders of the countries present that we initiate, with your initiative, a dialogue with the governments of Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay, and as a single point, to restore the rules of respect for worldwide law and the established and effective principles of the founding charter of our community of states of Latin American and the Caribbean".

Arreaza closed by reiterating Maduro's interest to have a conversation with Trump.

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