Venezuela crisis: Maduro willing to 'shake hands' with Trump

Minnie Murray
September 28, 2018

For over a year, top US officials have struggled to build support for more sweeping oil sanctions, facing resistance from energy companies still active in the country and fearing it could tip the OPEC nation over the edge at a time of hyperinflation and widespread food and medicine shortages.

Trump suggested that the Maduro regime could be "toppled very quickly" by Venezuela's military. "It's a truly bad place in the world today".

He tweeted a photo of himself aboard the plane, saying he meant to "bring the truth" about Venezuela to the U.N. He made a point of saying he was accompanied by his wife, Cilia Flores, who was sanctioned Tuesday by the U.S. Treasury, which also seized a plane belonging to a Maduro ally.

Like Venezuela, both countries have had crushing sanctions imposed on them.

"We are continuing to designate loyalists who enable Maduro to solidify his hold on the military and the government while the Venezuelan people suffer", Mr Mnuchin said in statement.

On Tuesday, the United States announced sanctions on four current or former officials: Maduro's wife and former attorney general Cilia Flores, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, and Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez.

The U.S. Treasury said that Padrino helped ensure the military's loyalty to Maduro.

Foreign ministers from the countries said the experts had found that the Venezuelan government bore responsibility for crimes ranging from torture, murder and rape to forced disappearances and violations of due process.

Trudeau steered clear of direct criticism of Trump and said Canada and the US share concern about the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

The sanctions were the result of accusations of corruption by Maduro's government.

Maduro slammed the sanctions, describing them as a badge of honor for Venezuelan revolutionaries. I bring with me the People's voice; I come here with lot of the Homeland's passion to stand for truth. "Her only crime is being my wife". Socialism's thirst for power leads to expansion, incursion, and oppression.

Beyond rallying Maduro's opponents, it's unclear what impact the sanctions will have. An estimated 2.3 million citizens have fled hyperinflation, power cuts, and food and medicine shortages.

Treasury also said a Gulfstream 200 private jet located in Florida had been identified as belonging to a front man of Socialist Party Vice President Diosdado Cabello, who the United States accuses of being involved in drug trafficking.

Trump publicly floated the idea of a military option in August 2017, but since then he has avoided making any direct references to a possible attack.

At the podium in the U.N. General Assembly where Trump had bashed him a day earlier, Maduro did not soften his tone or his message.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded by accusing the Trump administration of violating the rules of global law and "state obligations" by withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with the USA and five other major powers.

"More personal sanctions can maybe deprive top Venezuelan officials from some ill-gotten gains but this will hardly destabilize the regime", said Raul Gallegos, associate director of consultancy Control Risks.

"All options are on the table".

Maduro's arrival came as Venezuela was taking a thrashing.

"They have tried to demonize the Republic of Venezuela", he said.

Venezuela has said it does not recognize any sanctions imposed on the country without United Nations authorization.

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