Venezuelan envoy urges more pressure on Maduro

Muriel Colon
January 30, 2019

Venezuela's self-appointed president Juan Guaido has tried to wrest control of the country's state oil company, shortly before the United States imposed sanctions on the firm.

As a lawmaker who heads the National Assembly, Guaido has immunity from prosecution unless ordered by a top court. The company would not allow the opposition to take control of its US refinery unit Citgo, Venezuela's key foreign asset, he said. "Be on alert, Venezuela!"

Venezuela is in the middle of a power struggle, as socialist dictator Maduro is trying to fend off opposition leader Juan Guaido to maintain control of the nation.

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaidó sits down with FOX Business' Trish Regan Primetime for a one-on-one interview to discuss the disputed president Nicolás Maduro, new USA sanctions and the future of Venezuela.

The sanctions, imposed on January 28, prohibit PDVSA from collecting proceeds from crude oil sales to US refineries, adding to the pressure on Maduro.

"I am the only legitimate president of Venezuela", Guaido told broadcaster ARD. Elected president Nicolás Maduro, meanwhile, remains in power.

Opposition leaders have called for anti-government demonstrations this week.

USA military invention is seen in Washington as highly unlikely, but President Donald Trump has repeatedly said "all options are on the table" and notes Bolton held at a Monday briefing containing the words "5,000 troops to Colombia" have raised questions.

When asked if the USA had plans to intervene amid the unrest, Trump said of Venezuela, "We're not considering anything, but all options are on the table", CBS News reported.

International Brent crude oil futures rose over 2 percent on Tuesday in reaction.

"Over the past three or four years, as Venezuelan production has plummeted, we've seen a tightening of the heavy oil market and we think Canadians have benefited in that the price difference between light and heavy globally has tightened", he said. He said one member of Venezuela's Bolivarian national guard was reportedly killed in the state of Monagas.

Venezuela was once a Latin American success story and has the world's largest oil reserves, but has been driven into the ground during years of hardline leftist rule.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the new sanctions "violate all possible worldwide norms" and show a course toward regime change in embattled Venezuela.

Venezuela was the refiner's third-largest provider after the USA and Mexico.

When asked about Russia's potential military assistance to Venezuela, the Kremlin spokesman stressed that such conclusions "were inadmissible here".

"Russia is doing everything to support the lawful government of Maduro", he said, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

China believes that Venezuela's affairs must and can only be decided by the its own people, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Friday.

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