Trump administration hits 3 Venezuelans, 20 companies, with sanctions

Nicolás Maduro received sharp criticism from the United States

The US also announced new sanctions on three Venezuelans, including Pedro Luis Martin Olivares, a former intelligence official under indictment in Florida on drug trafficking charges, and 20 companies the Treasury Department said were connected to the targeted Venezuelans.

Maduro moved to strip the National Assembly of power in 2015 through an internationally questioned censured constitutional assembly after the Venezuelan United Socialist Party lost parliamentary elections.

On Monday, US Vice-President Mike Pence was expected to announce further sanctions on Venezuela, and call for the country to suspend a "sham" presidential election to be May 20, a US official told AFP.

Vice president Mike Pence called on Venezuela to suspend its presidential election later this month because of corruption concerns, declaring that the results would be fraudulent.

Pence said the United States has already sanctioned more than 50 current and former senior Venezuelan officials and cut off the so-called "petro" digital currency from the U.S. banking system.

The Trump administration has also been weighing new oil-related sanctions on a Venezuelan oil services company and on insurance coverage for tankers carrying Venezuelan oil.


In response, Moncada said that "there is no possibility of the elections being suspended", a timetable has been successfully fulfilled according to statements made by the directors of the National Electoral Council (CNE).

Pence urged other OAS member countries to help the United States increase pressure on the Maduro regime by cutting off "Venezuela's corrupt leaders from laundering money through your financial systems" and by enacting visa restrictions to block their travel.

The U.S. joins the European Union in calling on Venezuela to postpone the May 20 election until there are better assurances that it will be a free and fair democratic contest.

Maduro, himself subject to sanctions a year ago, regularly laughs off Washington's disapproval and blames the U.S.

He said the OAS must respond to the crisis by removing Venezuela from its membership. They are owned or controlled by the three individuals, the U.S. Treasury said in a statement on its website.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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