Venezuela expels two U.S. diplomats

23 May, 2018, 19:07 | Author: Enrique Watson
  • Venezuela expels two U.S. diplomats

The reelection of president Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela over the weekend was widely criticized as being a farce.

"The Maduro regime must allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela and must allow its people to be heard". (Listen to the full podcast using the player at the top of this page). "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".

"This money belongs to the Venezuelan people", Trump said. They also expressed the possibility of providing financial support to worldwide groups to strengthen the institutional capacities of countries in the region to deal with the migratory flow of people.

But there are other things Trump could do short of ordering an oil embargo, such as cutting USA exports of diluents to Venezuela. Today, the output number is between 1.4 and 1.6 - less than half.

However, Russia, El Salvador, Cuba and China congratulated President Maduro on his election win.

Hundreds of thousands have fled the country to escape the growing deprivation.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China believed Venezuela could handle its own affairs and the choice of the people should be respected. "Here you have a country in the middle of the worst economic contraction in recorded Latin American history - worse than that of the U.S.in the Great Depression - and yet the incumbent president that has caused all of this misery was apparently re-elected with 67% of the vote. How does that happen?"

Maduro's government, however, said the United States was using new sanctions to sabotage the election.

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Venezuela has suffered hyperinflation, chronic shortages of food and basic goods, and a collapse of public services as the country's oil revenues plummeted amid reduced petroleum output and, until recently, low crude prices.

Inflation is more than 13,000 percent and nearly half of the country's children no longer go to school. It is likely to hit 13,000% for 2018, notes the International Monetary Fund, adding to the nation's economic woes.

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

On Saturday, the United States ramped up pressure on Caracas by imposing new sanctions against the government's top officials.

The executive order prohibits US citizens from being involved in sales of Venezuela's pending invoices related to oil and other assets, though Vielma said shipments of fuel and crude to the United States would continue.

Venezuela's multiple creditors are considering accelerating claims on unpaid foreign debt, while oil major ConocoPhillips has been taking aggressive action in recent weeks against PDVSA, part of a claim for compensation over a 2007 nationalization of its assets in Venezuela. Countries which try - or are forced - to operate without co-operation from other nations find it to be rough going.

Kronick noted that increasing sanctions on Venezuela would be a double-edged sword.

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