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Venezuela could get blockade by U.S. - Trump official

Wil Riera / Bloomberg

Nicolas Maduro

By Justin Sink / Bloomberg

WASHINGTON
Petroleumworld 08 05 2019

Donald Trump is serious about a possible U.S. blockade of Venezuela, a senior administration official said Friday, saying that the country's president Nicolas Maduro has a short window to voluntarily leave power.

Trump told reporters on Thursday that he was considering a blockade or quarantine of the Latin American country, where the U.S. has been trying for months to unseat Maduro. He didn't elaborate.

But the official said Trump's statement should be taken seriously and is the direction U.S. policy is headed with regard to Venezuela. The official asked not to be identified as a condition of participation in a briefing for reporters.

The Trump administration has thrown its support behind National Assembly head and opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized by about 50 nations as the rightful interim leader of the South American country.

The U.S. will participate in a conference next week in Lima, Peru for countries backing Guaido, the official said.

Talks between the Maduro regime and the opposition have made little progress due to an impasse over Guaido's demand for fresh elections. Despite Venezuelans' widespread dissatisfaction with their government, divisions within the opposition are complicating the push toward a post-Maduro administration.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross outlined plans to rebuild Venezuela's financial institutions and infrastructure on Thursday in a speech to Latin American business executives in Brasilia.

“Venezuela will continue to deteriorate until the internationally recognized government of Juan Guaido implements needed economic, political and social reforms,” Ross said.

— With assistance by Samy Adghirni

.



Story by Justin Sink from Bloomberg.

bloomberg.com/ 08 02 2019

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