US increases pressure on senior Maduro loyalists

World Today

The U.S. has announced sanctions against some of Venezuela’s most senior officials.

Washington is trying to oust President Nicolas Maduro by pressuring those closest to him.

But there are growing divisions in the international community over Washington’s approach, as CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports.

A week ago, at least three people died and hundreds were wounded after Venezuelan officials blocked U.S. attempts to bring humanitarian aid over the Colombian border.

Now six top security officials deemed responsible have been hit with sanctions. Washington will freeze their U.S. assets and impose travel bans—all aimed at undermining President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams told a news conference: “I think that dictatorships come to an end. Some last for a very long time, others a much shorter time. This one in Venezuela will also come to an end.”

Even so, Maduro has for years resisted U.S. attempts to oust him. He’s accused him of ruining his country.

Hyperinflation – forecast to hit 10 million percent this year – has left millions unable to afford the basics to survive.

Leading Western governments recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.

But this leadership crisis is creating a growing divide at the United Nations Security Council.

Russia – long a financial supporter of Venezuela – and China vetoed a U.S. motion calling for new elections in Venezuela and unhindered humanitarian aid.

China Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said his country wanted a settlement negotiated by Venezuelans, adding: “China opposes interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs by external forces and military intervention against Venezuela. Regrettably, the relevant draft resolution put to vote is seriously inconsistent with China’s above-mentioned principles and positions. Therefore, China had to vote against it.”

Guaido is due to return to Caracas on Monday after visiting supportive South American neighbors. But he faces possible arrest for breaching a ban on leaving Venezuela.