Bolton: Some of Maduro’s Generals Have Made Contact With Opposition

Yekaterina Kuzmina  RBC  TASS

Yekaterina Kuzmina RBC TASS

The US announced sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil company, aiming to increase pressure on Mr Maduro to leave office.

White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Monday the new measures would cost Maduro $11 billion in lost export proceeds over the next year and block him from accessing PDVSA assets worth $7 billion.

The consequences of default are much higher on those bonds since they're backed by a first-priority lien on a 50.1 percent stake in Citgo Holding Inc., PDVSA's USA refining arm. "Be on alert, Venezuela!"

The measures against state-owned PDVSA were presented as a way of preventing the leftist strongman from looting the coffers in his economically ruined country before he is replaced by the man Washington says is the rightful interim president - opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader who proclaimed himself interim president last week with U.S. backing, and who is supported by most Western countries, says Maduro stole his re-election and must resign to allow new, fair polls. Kremlin said on Tuesday that US sanctions against Venezuela's PDVASA are illegal and naked interference in Venezuela's internal affairs.

Inside Venezuela, Maduro holds the reins of power with the armed forces still loyal despite an opposition push to lure their support by proposing amnesty for anybody who supports Guaido's transitional government.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also vowed that Russian Federation and its allies would "do everything" needed to protect Mr Maduro, although he didn't elaborate on what that would entail.

In a statement issued on January 26, the European Union called for the "urgent holding of free, transparent and credible presidential elections in accordance with internationally democratic standards and the Venezuelan constitutional order".




The UN spokesman Rupert Colville said on Tuesday that 696 people were detained on 23 January alone.

As of Monday, all PDVSA assets and property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, according to a Treasury statement, and USA citizens and companies are generally prohibited from doing business with the Venezuelan firm.

PDVSA responded to the sanctions by ordering customers with tankers waiting to load crude destined for the United States to prepay, according to three sources with knowledge of the decision. The move is consistent with the Trump administration's efforts to starve Maduro of oil money, while still blunting the potential impact on USA refiners and US motorists, said Jim Lucier, managing director of Washington, D.C. -based Capital Alpha Partners.

"There will probably be problems. It is hard, impossible to give a different assessment", Sergei Storchak said.

Incumbent Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US.

In an apparent effort to minimise negative fallout in the United States, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Citgo in the United States would be able to continue to operate provided funds go to a blocked account.

Exiled former soldiers of the Nicolas Maduro regime are now asking for America to supply them with weapons to lead a revolt against the dictator.

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