US targets Venezuela intelligence agency with sanctions
12 Jul 2019

AP — The Trump administration imposed sanctions Thursday on Venezuela’s military intelligence agency, which is accused of torturing to death a navy captain in its custody.

The latest move by the U.S. Treasury Department to pressure President Nicolás Maduro from power followed another round of negotiations in Barbados between Maduro’s government and opposition leaders aimed at ending Venezuela’s political crisis.

Maduro’s spokesman, Jorge Rodriguez, said the talks moderated by Norway that closed Wednesday resulted in a successful exchange, but gave no details and it wasn’t immediately clear if any agreements had been reached.

The U.S.-backed opposition is demanding early presidential elections, contending that Maduro’s re-election last year was invalid.

Few hold out hope for the most recent attempt at dialogue. Several rounds of talks have failed to lead to solutions as Venezuela’s political and financial crisis has deepened in recent years, sparking one of the worst migration crises in Latin America’s history.

Maduro often says he is willing to negotiate to end hostilities and bring peace to the South American nation, but the opposition accuses the socialist government of using talks as a stalling tactic while continuing to threaten, torture and kill political opponents.

The Vatican extended its institutional prestige in 2016, attempting to mediate a dialogue that the pope later said “went up in smoke,” placing blame on Maduro. A year later, a fresh round of talks in the Dominican Republic also fizzled with no constructive outcome.

By Scott Smith, AP, 11 July 2019

Read more at the Associated Press

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