Russia's Putin pledges to send food to Venezuela

Amos Gonzales
May 20, 2017

US President Donald Trump on Thursday called the situation in Venezuela a "disgrace to humanity" and said the deadly political crisis was possibly the worst of its kind in decades.

"Members of the country's Supreme Court of Justice have exacerbated the situation by consistently interfering with the legislative branch's authority", U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said. Earlier this year, the administration also blacklisted Venezuela's vice president, Tareck El Aissami, accusing him of being a major drug trafficker.

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles said on Thursday that authorities confiscated his passport and prevented him from travelling to NY to discuss the country's crisis with United Nations officials.

"We are ready, all trade agreements have already been signed and very soon Russian Federation will supply Venezuela with 60,000 tons of wheat per month on a stable basis starting from this year", Maduro said, according to state news agency AVN.

Anti-government protesters make their way to the Interior Ministry, before clashing with National Guards who blocked them in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, May 18, 2017. All of those targeted will have USA assets frozen and be denied travel to the United States, while American citizens will be barred from doing business with them, officials said.

Maduro's supporters counter-accused Washington of bullying and violating worldwide law. "The government of the United States is attempting to co-opt and intimidate the conscience of the magistrates of Venezuela's maximum judicial body", he added.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez took to Twitter to reject the US-imposed measures, calling them "outrageous and unacceptable".

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"The U.S. power system does not miss an opportunity to violate worldwide law", she said.

The chief justice, Moreno Perez, has a particularly colorful history, according to Venezuelan news reports.

Almost two months of political upheaval in Venezuela have left at least 46 people dead. The Supreme Court justices, who support Maduro, later reversed their decision.

The new sanctions come as Maduro is facing increasing pressure at home and overseas to hold elections. "I will not be able to attend the meeting with the high commissioner for human rights". It warned the crisis was worsening and could escalate into a civil conflict. Venezuela, an oil-rich country of 31 million people, has caught Trump's eye in part because it remains a staunch ally of Communist Cuba and has been portrayed in some circles as a gateway to the continent for Iran.

Trump's sanctions and comments against Venezuelan officials played to the government's longstanding accusations of USA imperialism in Latin American affairs.

Because of the fall in oil prices, Maduro's government's mismanagement and widespread corruption, Venezuela has fallen into abysmal crisis. On Thursday, several thousand demonstrators once again collapsed Caracas and other cities in protests that ended in clashes with security forces firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

Other reports by BadHub

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