May 27, 2018

US hits 3 Venezuelans, 20 companies, with sanctions

10 May 2018, 12:17 | Simon Arnold

Pence Decries 'Fake' Venezuelan Elections, Political Imprisonments, Refusal of Foreign Aid

Pence blasts Venezuela's 'sham election' ahead of possible new US sanctions

WASHINGTON-The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Monday against Venezuela's former financial intelligence chief over his alleged work as a drug kingpin, and 20 Venezuelan and Panamanian firms for allegedly laundering narcotrafficking proceeds.

Pence also decried Maduro's refusal to accept global aid even as the economic crisis endangers Venezuelans.

The new sanctions continue a pattern of stepped-up USA measures on individuals connected to Maduro, who is blamed by President Donald Trump's administration for a deep recession and hyperinflation in OPEC member Venezuela that has caused food shortages and sent a flood of migrants into neighbouring countries.

In addition to announcing the sanctions, Pence also condemned Venezuela's upcoming May 20 election as a "fake election, with a fake outcome".

The U.S. joins the European Union in calling on Venezuela to postpone the May 20 election until there are better assurances that it will be a free and fair democratic contest.

"I am not sure how we will make that happen, but I know that we can't stop, " she said right after her speech during a conference organized by the Council of the Americas.

The Trump administration has also been weighing new oil-related sanctions on a Venezuelan oil services company and on insurance coverage for tankers carrying Venezuelan oil.

The government statement reiterated that presidential elections in Venezuela will take place in May 20 despite US aggression and interventionism.

The Treasury Department said in a statement that Martin used his government position to accept bribes from drug traffickers, and helped facilitate the movement of multi-ton loads of cocaine through Venezuelan airspace.

Maduro, himself subject to sanctions a year ago, regularly laughs off Washington's disapproval and blames the U.S.

Of the newly sanctioned companies, 16 are based in Venezuela and four in Panama.

The statement issued Tuesday was a response to declarations made by U.S. They are owned or controlled by the three individuals, the U.S. Treasury said in a statement.

Vice President Mike Pence addressed the Organization of American States (OAS) Monday and called on its members to suspend the membership of Venezuela, denouncing its government as undemocratic.

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