US Headed Toward Blockade of Venezuela

August 5th, 2019 - by Justin Sink / Bloomberg & MSN

US Headed Toward Blockade of Venezuela, Trump Official Says

Justin Sink / Bloomberg

 (April 3, 2019) — Donald Trump is serious about a possible US blockade of Venezuela, a senior administration official said Friday, saying that the country’s president Nicolas Maduro has a short window to voluntarily leave power.

Trump told reporters on Thursday that he was considering a blockade or quarantine of the Latin American country, where the US has been trying for months to unseat Maduro. He didn’t elaborate.

But the official said Trump’s statement should be taken seriously and is the direction US policy is headed with regard to Venezuela. The official asked not to be identified as a condition of participation in a briefing for reporters.

The Trump administration has thrown its support behind National Assembly head and opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized by about 50 nations as the rightful interim leader of the South American country.

The US will participate in a conference next week in Lima, Peru for countries backing Guaido, the official said.

Talks between the Maduro regime and the opposition have made little progress due to an impasse over Guaido’s demand for fresh elections. Despite Venezuelans’ widespread dissatisfaction with their government, divisions within the opposition are complicating the push toward a post-Maduro administration.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross outlined plans to rebuild Venezuela’s financial institutions and infrastructure on Thursday in a speech to Latin American business executives in Brasilia.

“Venezuela will continue to deteriorate until the internationally recognized government of Juan Guaido implements needed economic, political and social reforms,” Ross said.

–With assistance from Samy Adghirni.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P. Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes

Maduro Says He ‘Repudiates’ Trump Statement on Possible Venezuela Blockade


CARACAS (August 3, 2019) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday said he rejected US President Donald Trump’s statement about a possible blockade of the South American country, adding that its seas would remain “free and independent.”

Maduro said he had asked Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations, Samuel Moncada, to denounce the “illegal” threat to the U.N. Security Council.

“All of Venezuela, in a civic-military union, repudiates and rejects the statements of Donald Trump about a supposed quarantine, of a supposed blockade,” Maduro said in a state television broadcast. “A blockade, why would he announce that? It is clearly illegal.”

The United States has applied sanctions and diplomatic pressure to try to get Maduro, whom it accuses of human rights violations and stealing the Venezuelan election last year, to step down.

On Thursday, when asked by a reporter whether he was considering such a measure given involvement by China and Iran in Venezuela, Trump said: “Yes, I am.” He gave no details.

On Friday, a senior US official said Trump’s word on the issue should be taken “very seriously” but that the administration did not want to give away “the element of surprise.”

(Reporting by Luc Cohen and Deisy Buitrago; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool)

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes