Wednesday 23 January, 2019

US imposes strict sanctions against Venezuela's 'corrupt regime'

Secretary of State, Washington DC, Michael R Pompeo

Secretary of State, Washington DC, Michael R Pompeo

The United States of America has imposed sanctions against seven individuals and 23 entities believed to be involved in a corruption scheme to exploit Venezuela’s currency exchange practices.

The US Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago issued a statement on Thursday condemning Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s illegitimate usurpation of power following what it deemed the unfree and unfair elections imposed on the Venezuelan people on May 20.

The United States said it remains steadfast in its support of the Venezuelan people as it will continue to use the full weight of US economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy.

The release noted that the United States stands behind Venezuela’s National Assembly, which it considers to be the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people.

“By rigging the system in their favour, these individuals and entities stole more than $2.4 billion as the Venezuelan people starved. We applaud the initiative by the new National Assembly leadership to work with the international community to recover these and other stolen funds and to use them to relieve the suffering of Venezuela’s people. The United States will continue to play an active role towards this end.”

The United States said it implemented and will continue to impose VISA revocations and other restrictions for current and former Venezuelan government officials and their family members believed to be responsible for or complicit in human rights abuses, acts of public corruption and the undermining of democratic governance.

“We will not allow them to act without consequence or enjoy their ill-gotten gains in the United States – and urge other countries to act likewise.”

The US said it is time for Venezuela to begin a transitional process that can restore the constitutional, democratic order by holding free and fair elections that respect the will of the Venezuelan people.

“It is time for Venezuelan leaders to make a choice. We urge those who support this regime, from every day employees getting by on food subsidies to the Venezuelan security forces sworn to support the constitution, to stop enabling repression and corruption and to work with the National Assembly and its duly elected leader, Juan Guaido, in accordance with your constitution on a peaceful return to democracy. The Venezuelan people and the international community will remember and judge your actions. Now is the time to convince the Maduro dictatorship that the moment has arrived for democracy to return to Venezuela.”

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