Venezuela planning to remove U.S. officials from state-run oil company

10 February, 2019, 03:57 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • Reese Erlich

The US intelligence community is directly communicating with members of Venezuela's military in attempts to convince them to abandon beleaguered President Nicolas Maduro while also considering additional sanctions to ramp up the pressure, a senior White House official divulged to Reuters.

Even if all the accusations being levelled against the elected president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, are basically correct, that does not mean that foreign countries can pick and choose the next leader of the country on their own! The US is also reportedly holding direct communications with members of Venezuela's military, urging them to switch their allegiance in exchange for sanctions relief, or to face even stronger penalties.

Hua's statement came after Thursday's meeting on Venezuela of an International Contact Group led by Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez. But bringing in humanitarian aid is crucial to Guaido's challenge to Maduro's authority.

On Wednesday, one truck tank and two containers were set up at the Tienditas Bridge crossing between Venezuela and Colombia, where the aid is now stored, blocking access to Venezuela.

As Maduro addressed a crowd of journalists, Guaido was simultaneously speaking to a crowd of university students in Caracas about the opening of the collection center in Cucuta, saying that another two collection centers will soon open and calling for all Venezuelans to gather together over the weekend and organize to bring the aid into the country.

Venezuela's state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) on Saturday announced that it is planning to confiscate American officials, members of the board of directors at the companys subsidiary located in the United States, Citgo Petroleum Corp, sources confirmed Al Jazeera.

Earlier, Maduro vowed not to let in "fake humanitarian aid" and claimed Venezuela's crisis has been "fabricated by Washington" to justify intervention.

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Guaido says the constitution allows him to assume power, set up a transitional government and hold new elections - one of his key demands that has received widespread worldwide support.

Last week Reuters reported that senior USA government officials are in direct talks with the country's military to convince them to back Guaido, who has offered soldiers amnesty to work against the Maduro government.

"We'll do everything we have to in a sovereign and autonomous manner to end the usurpation, (establish) the transitional government and (hold) free elections", said Guaido.

Maduro, after launching a signature-gathering campaign against alleged USA interference, has repeatedly stressed his sentiment that the main objective behind Washington's interest in the political outcome in Venezuela is the nation's oil reserves, said to the largest in the world.

Consultants Eurasia Group said on Thursday that Maduro's traditonal allies Russian Federation and China are "unlikely to lend (him) meaningful support", reinforcing its view that the socialist leader "will be unable to sustain his regime".

The contact group, which seeks a solution to Venezuela's political and economic crisis through dialogue and new presidential elections, includes Germany, the UK, Spain and France, and a handful of Latin American countries such as Uruguay, Ecuador and Costa Rica. Venezuela's chief military attache to the USA also said he was defecting late last month.

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