Venezuela's Maduro accuses Trump of ordering his murder: RIA

Jermaine Castillo
January 31, 2019

Maduro claims he is facing a Washington-backed coup attempt led by opposition leader Juan Guaido, who last week proclaimed himself president and was recognized by the United States as the legitimate head-of-state.

On Tuesday, the Venezuelan Supreme Court barred the 35-year-old opposition leader from leaving the country after chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab announced that he was opening a criminal investigation.

Guaido said on Monday that the U.S. maneuver would stop Maduro from emptying the "coffers" if he is removed from office.

Last week, USA officials successfully lobbied the Bank of England to deny Maduro access to $1.2 billion worth of gold the government holds in London, stymieing the regime's efforts to pull in funds from overseas.

"What I asked President Putin is to maintain constant contact, provide support at the diplomatic and political levels at the United Nations and defend the truth of Venezuela internationally", he said.

But he says the expected shortage of heavy crude supply in the USA will likely increase prices throughout the North American market, including in Canada.

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The new USA special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, also attended the meeting, a White House official said.

"This action was a statement that the people of Venezuela have had enough of oppression, corruption, and economic hardship", Bolton said.

This move prompted two dozen nations, including the United States and Russian Federation, to pick sides in the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis.

The surprise arrival of a giant Russian passenger plane to Venezuela amid a wave of anti-government unrest is fueling intrigue on social media and charges by the opposition that President Nicolas Maduro's administration is looking to shuttle overseas what's left of the country's depleted gold reserves.

In its most recent announcement, the White House said that the U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Guaido on phone on Wednesday, reiterating his support for the "fight to regain democracy".

Maduro went on state television on Tuesday to announce that he was beefing up the nation's defence by expanding Venezuela's civilian armed militia to 2 million members.

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on the order last week, which was then followed on Monday by US sanctions targeting Venezuela's state oil giant PDVSA, the cash-strapped government's main source of hard currency.

PDVSA's US -based subsidiary, Citgo, which refines Venezuelan oil and sells Citgo brand gasoline in the USA, will continue to operate as usual.

Oil-rich Venezuela is wracked with hyperinflation, rendering the bolivar currency practically worthless.

Mr Maduro remains in control of the country because of support from the military, despite massive protests against his Government amid an economic crisis that has caused millions to flee the country.

If the Russians really are ferrying gold out of Venezuela, it would behoove Maduro to remember his Russian friends are very insistent on receiving timely payments on the enormous sums they have loaned him.

The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on PDVSA, Venezuela's government-owned oil company.

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