Venezuelan President Maduro accuses Trump of ordering his assassination

Posted January 31, 2019

The White House's measures to freeze PDVSA's United States assets - including proceeds from oil exports - and limit the company's transactions are an attempt to largely cut off Mr Maduro's access to oil revenue, which accounts for most of the country's income in hard currency.

"This needs to be taken with utmost seriousness", said Guerra in a speech to lawmakers. "We stand ready to continue to take action", he said in a tweet.

The former union leader and bus driver told Russia's state-owned RIA Novosti news agency on Wednesday that any talks with the opposition could be held with the mediation of other countries; however, he rejected calls for a snap election as blackmail.

Mr Maduro accused Washington of staging a coup and pressed his case directly to the American people in a short video shot in the presidential palace.

The court also said prosecutors could investigate Guaido, in apparent retaliation for sweeping US sanctions on oil firm PDVSA, announced on Monday.

"41 percent of Venezuela's exports are destined for the U.S. market, so that any disruption is likely to cause a supply issue and cause the price of oil to spike and by extension, the price of petroleum products to go up in the United States", Everistus Jn Marie told St Lucia Times. In fact they are totally out of commission and have been importing their products from the United States, he observed.

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The surprise arrival of a giant Russian passenger plane to Venezuela amid a wave of anti-government unrest is fueling intrigue on social media and charges by the opposition that President Nicolas Maduro's administration is looking to shuttle overseas what's left of the country's depleted gold reserves.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said that the USA sanctions against PDVSA amounted to illegal interference in Venezuela's internal affairs, and that Russian Federation would use all the legal mechanisms at its disposal to protect its interests there.

However, given the failure of previous rounds of dialogue, including one led by the Vatican, opponents are suspicious, believing Maduro uses them to quell protests and buy time.

The United States, Brazil and some other countries have recognized Guaido's presidency, with US President Donald Trump warning that "all options are on the table".

The Supreme Court approved a request from Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek Saab to open a preliminary investigation into Guaido based on accusations he helped foreign countries to interfere in internal matters.

The court is stacked with Maduro loyalists. National Assembly president Guaido wants Maduro to step down so he can set up a transitional government ahead of new elections.

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"The regime is in its final throes", said Guaido.

"I don't underestimate the threat of persecution at the moment, but here we are", he said.

On Tuesday, Maduro announced he is expanding Venezuela's civilian armed militia to two million members.

The news comes after the USA placed crippling sanctions on Venezuela's state owned oil company in a bid to topple Nicolás Maduro's regime.

Mr Maduro called the sanctions "criminal" and vowed to challenge the United States in court.

Ms Vandana said: "The oil market remains beholden to the alternating fears and hopes over the global economic momentum in 2019, and developments in the US-China trade talks have become the proxy for that calibration".

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on the order last week, which was then followed on Monday by US sanctions targeting Venezuela's state oil giant PDVSA, the cash-strapped government's main source of hard currency. Massive protest expected today. Russian Federation is key to keeping the Venezuelan president in power through loans and worldwide clout to counter pressure from the US, Euorpe and many Latin American countries.