US Lawmakers in Quandary Over Venezuela's Crisis

James Marshall
May 23, 2018

The announcement comes after the United States's latest sanctions against the Venezuelan government in response to what it called an illegitimate and "sham" election Sunday that gave Maduro another six-year term.

Accusing U.S. charge d'affaires Todd Robinson of being involved in "a military conspiracy", Maduro ordered him and another senior diplomat, Brian Naranjo, to leave within 48 hours.

"The United States will not sit idly by as Venezuela crumbles and the misery of their courageous people continues", he added.

Maduro also accused the Trump administration, which toughened financial sanctions on his government Monday, of seeking to escalate "aggressions" against the Venezuelan people.

Lucena, from the same leftist party as Maduro, rejected allegations by the opposition and much of the worldwide community that the polls were not legitimate.

"We are deeply concerned by the use of illegal sanctions, whose effect falls most heavily on the poorest and most marginal sectors of society, to coerce political and economic change in a sister democracy, " their communique said.

Maduro won 68 percent of the vote, but 52 percent of voters did not cast ballots - a historic abstention rate.

Reports say that 14 members of Lina Group have revealed that they will recall their envoys to protest against what it said was the country's failure to hold a "free and fair" election.

"This was my first visit to Merida, but it will not be my last", added Robinson, who assumed the charge d'affaires role in December.

In a statement on Tuesday, Venezuela's foreign ministry said the sanctions violated global law and blamed the US "blockade" of the country for "blocking the population's access to basic goods".

US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan warned of the possibility of an oil embargo against Venezuela.

"These illegal and unilateral measures constitute a crime against humanity and undermine the right for development of Venezuela, impeding people's access to basic goods", the statement read.

The foreign minister also blamed the USA "blockade" of Venezuela for the country's lack of access to basic goods, according to Reuters.

It went on, "The message wished the president bigger success in his responsible work for the country's independent progress and prosperity".

The sanctions imposed previous year have already had a devastating effect on Venezuela's oil sector, Cardenas and Kronick pointed out. "As it has so often been in the past, the target of their efforts is the United States".

The diplomatic row over re-election of Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro has been spreading like a wildfire in South America.

Maduro repeated claims that Venezuela's economic woes - which include shortages of food, medicine and almost all government services - have been caused by foreign powers trying to undermine his Socialist-inspired government.

Of course, North Korea has suffered from United States (and UN) sanctions created to pressure it into giving up its nuclear weapons.

Many large corporations were nationalized or fled the country in recent years, and about 90% of Venezuelans now live below the poverty line.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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