Venezuelan President Expels 2 US Diplomats Over New Sanctions

Ismael LynchMay 23, 2018

"I'm not clear what should happen now, but it should be a matter of US concern because a lot of people are hurting [in Venezuela] and it's also in our backyard".

Falcon had refused to recognize the election's results even before they were announced.

Browne said: "I look forward to working with you and expanding our cooperation in projects related to development for the mutual benefit of both peoples". Venezuela's oil production is falling off of a cliff, the humanitarian crisis continues to deteriorate, and creditors are now seizing assets in the country, which could accelerate and magnify the crisis.

The foreign minister also blamed the USA "blockade" of Venezuela for the country's lack of access to basic goods, according to Reuters.

Maduro also accused the Trump administration, which toughened financial sanctions on his government Monday, of seeking to escalate "aggressions" against the Venezuelan people.

Reports say that 14 members of Lina Group have revealed that they will recall their envoys to protest against what it said was the country's failure to hold a "free and fair" election. More obstacles to PDVSA's ability to sell oil overseas could restrict already-dwindling foreign exchange earnings, worsening the economic crisis and pressuring Maduro.

Vice President Mike Pence also tore into the Maduro regime on Monday, declaring in a statement that the United States "will not sit idly by as Venezuela crumbles and the misery of their courageous people continues".

The Donald Trump administration on Monday imposed new economic sanctions on the Maduro government banning U.S. citizens or companies from buying Venezuelan debt and the liquidation of Venezuelan assets in usa territory.

With his country in the throes of economic collapse, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro won re-election Sunday in a vote boycotted by the opposition and slammed by the Trump administration as a fraud.

"What happened in Venezuela on Sunday is truly freakish".

Major obstacles to the participation of opposition political parties and their leaders, an unbalanced composition of the National Electoral Council, biased electoral conditions, numerous reported irregularities during the Election Day, including vote buying, stood in the way of fair and equitable elections.

Falcon called for a new election, complaining about the government placing of almost 13,000 pro-government stands offering "prizes" close to polling stations nationwide.

"Never have we witnessed an worldwide attack as bad as the one that characterized this process", she said.

Maduro first took office in 2013 after his predecessor Hugo Chavez died, and is set to govern Venezuela for another six-year term, from January 2019 to 2025. The bolivar currency is down well over 99 percent over the past year and annual inflation is at almost 14,000 percent, according to the opposition-led National Assembly.

The latest USA sanctions on Venezuela appeared to target in part Citgo, a US-based oil refinery owned by Venezuela state oil company PDVSA.

Meanwhile, the European Union said it will consider imposing new sanctions on Venezuela as a result of Sunday's vote.

The benchmark government bond due 2027 was bid up 0.25 points to 29 cents on the dollar while the benchmark PDVSA 2022 recovered about half of its early losses to trade down 0.65 points in price to 26.851 cents on the dollar, according to Thomson Reuters data.

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