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Sunday January 19th, 2020 12:05PM

The Latest: US warns those who deal with Venezuela

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on relations between the United States and Venezuela (all times local):

10:20 a.m.

National Security Adviser John Bolton says the U.S. will target anybody — at home or abroad — who supports the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro with stiff financial sanctions.

Bolton spoke Tuesday in Peru's capital a day after the Trump administration announced a new round of sweeping measures aimed at pressuring Maduro from office.

The tough measures are similar to those used on adversaries Cuba, North Korea, Syria and Iran.

The U.S. is among more than 50 nations that back opposition leader Juan Guaido's bid to oust Maduro.

Bolton calls Maduro a "brutal dictator," accusing him of using death squads and a corrupt food scheme to control Venezuelans.

Bolton warns key Maduro backers Russia and China not to double down on a bad bet by continuing to support the socialist president.

___

9:10 a.m.

A senior Venezuelan official is accusing the Trump administrations of "gangsterism" and "international banditry" following a fresh round of harsh financial sanctions against the socialist government.

Vice Minister of International Communication William Castillo on Tuesday blasted the White House's announcement freezing Venezuelan government assets.

U.S. officials say they're increasing pressure on President Nicolás Maduro to force his government from power.

Castillo is among the highest ranking Venezuelan officials to comment on the measures announced late Monday. Maduro has so far remained silent.

The actions also blocks Venezuelan officials identified as being close to Maduro from entering the U.S.

___

5:35 a.m.

A senior Russian lawmaker has denounced the U.S. freeze of all Venezuelan government assets as a crude interference in the country's internal affairs.

Konstantin Kosachev is the head of the Russian upper house's international affairs committee and said Tuesday the Trump administration's action amounts to "international banditry." He added in remarks carried by the state RIA Novosti news agency that Washington's move represents an "open meddling into Venezuela's internal affairs."

The U.S. ban blocks American companies and individuals from doing business with President Nicolás Maduro's (nee-koh-LAHS' mah-DOO'-rohz) government and its top supporters. It's the first of its kind in the western hemisphere in more than three decades.

Russia has staunchly backed Maduro, while the U.S. and dozens of other nations have cast their support behind opposition leader Juan Guaidó (gwy-DOH') and recognized him as Venezuela's interim president.

The Maduro government has yet to respond.

___

1:05 a.m.

The Trump administration has frozen all Venezuelan government assets in a dramatic escalation of tensions with Nicolás Maduro.

The ban places Maduro's socialist administration alongside a short list of adversaries from Cuba, North Korea, Syria and Iran that have been targeted by such aggressive U.S. actions.

The ban blocks American companies and individuals from doing business with Maduro's government and its top supporters. It came Monday night as an executive order from President Donald Trump and takes effect immediately.

Trump's order spares Venezuela's still sizable private sector. Yet it represents the most sweeping U.S. action to remove Maduro since the Trump administration recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's rightful leader in January.

The order also exposes foreign entities doing business with the Maduro government to U.S. retaliation.

The Maduro government has yet to respond.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington
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