Trump seems to encourage Venezuela military coup amid fresh sanctions

Geraldine Edwards
September 30, 2018

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It appeared unlikely that Maduro would cross paths with Trump, despite the USA president's comments earlier in the day that he was willing to meet with his Venezuelan counterpart if it would help ease suffering in the South American nation.

"Trump has said he's anxious about Venezuela and wants to help", Maduro said.

The report, which was released at the end of May, concluded that there are reasonable grounds to presume that crimes against humanity, as defined in article 7 of the Rome Statute, may have been committed in Venezuela.

The other Venezuelan officials US Treasury targeted with sanctions were described as members of Maduro's inner circle - Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.

As a number of journalists have reported atVox and Yahoo Finance, the cause of Venezuela's deterioriating economy was not the actions of Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chavez, who took advantage of high oil prices to pay for strong public food subsidies and healthcare programs-but of plummeting oil production and Maduro's consolidation of power.

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The Trump administration on Tuesday imposed financial sanctions on four members of Maduro's inner circle, including his wife and the nation's vice president, on allegations of corruption.

First lady Cilia Flores, a lawyer and former attorney general who also ran Venezuela's legislature, frequently appears at public events with Maduro and is seen an important behind-the-scenes power broker.

"All options are on the table", Trump said.

His comments came on the heels of a Tuesday speech at the U.N. General Assembly in whichTrump once again addressed the current situation in Venezuela.

Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro had kept the world gathered along the East River guessing. It has imposed several rounds of sanctions on government officials, including on Maduro. Rather, he could be laying the groundwork for even harsher USA sanctions-such as a ban on US oil exports to Venezuela or preventing the USA purchase of Venezuelan crude, either of which would be a body blow to Caracas.

But at the same time, he said he was willing to talk with Trump.

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Maduro already was hit with the same penalties on July 31, 2017, as was Diosdado Cabello, president of Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly (ANC).

The surprise visit came after Maduro threatened to skip the global gathering, citing fears he could be assassinated as his once-wealthy OPEC nation spirals into a brutal economic crisis and worldwide pressure mounts for the socialist leader to step down.

Maduro's appearance at the General Assembly took many off guard.

We are landing in NY to participate in the UN General Assembly.

"If he (Maduro) is here and he wants to meet - it was not on my mind, it was not on my plate, but if I can help people, that's what I'm here for", he added.

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