13 May 2019
The Trump administration on Friday expanded the scope of its Venezuela sanctions to the defense and security services sectors to try to crank up economic pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The White House is keen to show that momentum in its four-month-old campaign against Maduro has not waned, particularly after a failed uprising last week led by opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is backed by the United States and most Western nations.
Guaido – who Maduro has called a puppet of Washington – invoked Venezuela’s constitution in January to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate.
Despite significant U.S. oil sanctions on the OPEC member nation, Maduro has held on to power, backed by Cuba, Russia and China, and retains the support of the country’s military and other institutions.
U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin a week ago, a conversation that revealed Moscow to be relatively disinterested in the fate of Maduro, according to a senior U.S. administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
By Roberta Rampton, Makini Brice and Mohammad Zargham, Reuters, 10 May 2019
Read more at Reuters
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