Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro’s administration has reached its final stage and there will soon be a change in government, opposition leader Juan Guaido said, adding that his allies have spoken with high-ranking military members about changing sides.
In an interview with Reuters on Friday, Guaido said Maduro had lost the ability to ‘finance political blackmail’ to retain power thanks to pressure brought by foreign governments who have recognized him as the South American country’s rightful leader in the midst of a hyperinflationary economic collapse.
‘They are isolated, alone, they are falling apart day by day,’ Guaido, the president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, said in Lecheria, a city in northeastern Anzoategui state, where he held several rallies with supporters over the weekend.
‘The citizens do not like them, they reject them, they hate them, because that is what they have received from them: hate.’
Venezuela plunged into a deep political crisis in January, when Guaido invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro’s May 2018 re-election was illegitimate. He has been recognized by most Western countries, including the United States, as Venezuela’s rightful leader.
Maduro, a socialist, says Guaido is a puppet of the United States and is attempting to lead a coup against him to wrest control of the OPEC nation’s oil reserves, the largest in the world. He retains control of state functions and the loyalty of the military top brass.
Meanwhile, the United States on Friday slapped sanctions on a key Venezuelan bank, BANDES and four affiliates over their support for president Nicolas Maduro, reports AFP.
The US move came just hours after Maduro’s regime defied the United States and arrested a top aide of opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom Washington recognises as the crisis-hit country’s interim leader.
Venezuelan interior minister Nestor Reverol accused the aide, Roberto Marrero, a 49-year-old lawyer who serves as Guaido’s chief of staff, of leading a ‘terrorist cell’ bent on attacking the government’s leadership.
The companies sanctioned are BANDES, a state-controlled bank; Banco Bandes Uruguay; Banco Bicentenario del Pueblos; Banco Universal SA Banco de Venezuela; and Banco Prodem SA, of Bolivia.
‘All property and interests in property of these entities, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by this entity, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC,’ the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control statement said.
‘Maduro and his enablers have distorted the original purpose of the bank, which was founded to help the economic and social wellbeing of the Venezuelan people, as part of a desperate attempt to hold onto power,’ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
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