U.S. looking at new sanctions against Venezuela -U.S

Daniel Fowler
March 8, 2019

In talks with public sector unions on Tuesday, he has vowed to stage strikes to help bring down the government.

Venezuela's political crisis has been sparked by an economic meltdown in which hyperinflation has hit salaries and savings, leading many to flee the country.

As head of the opposition-led National Assembly, Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela's interim president in January after the legislature declared Mr Maduro's re-election previous year illegitimate.

"Public sector workers have lost practically all their rights, we have no other option but to call for a civic strike", said Guaido, without giving any further details.

Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, Maduro said he would defeat a "crazed minority" planning to destabilize the country. With both political factions holding firm amid increasing deprivation for Venezuelans, some analysts speculate that they might be considering negotiations on an end to the standoff. "They better know that the pressure has barely begun".

President Maduro, meanwhile, pressed his supporters to hold "anti-imperialist" marches on Saturday to counter fresh protests planned by Mr Guaido.

The United States is considering imposing sanctions on third country actors in response to the Venezuelan crisis, US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said during a press conference.

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When Guaido returned to Caracas on Monday, tens of thousands of supporters turned out around the country to welcome him home.

Guaido's return marks the latest challenge to Maduro's authority since the young challenger declared himself acting president on January 23, vowing to set up a transitional government and hold new elections. Abrams reportedly called on "Maurer" to block the Venezuelan government's assets in a nonexistent Swiss bank that the prank callers mentioned.

Venezuela is gripped by a humanitarian crisis that is expected to worsen as US oil sanctions created to put more pressure on Maduro take their toll.

In 2015, then-President Barack Obama officially designated Venezuela as an "extraordinary threat to the national security" of the United States, with the Trump administration now taking more concrete steps to bring about a regime change in Venezuela.

During his travels, Juan Guaido met US Vice President Mike Pence and the leaders of Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Ecuador.

President Nicolas Maduro has not been seen in public over the recent days either, and has made no statements after the return of Guaido.

His attempt to bring humanitarian aid to Venezuelans suffering from food and medicine shortages was prevented by the army on the Colombian and Brazilian borders last month.

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