USA sanctions 13 past and present Venezuelan officials before election

USA sanctions 13 past and present Venezuelan officials before election

The decision was reversed three days later but it triggered a series of bloody street protests that have lasted for months.

"I can't say the judiciary is either one side or the other because the judiciary is expected to be independent", he added.

"A flawed ANC election process all but guarantees that a majority of the Assembly's members will represent the interests of President [Nicolas] Maduro's government", a press release from the Treasury Department states.

Surveys by Datanalisis, a polling firm, have shown that more than 70 percent of Venezuelans reject Maduro's leadership.

Eugenia Santandar in Caracas told AFP she bought canned and frozen food to ride out the political storm: "We must prepare ourselves not to die of hunger", she said.

Speaking to reporters in the border city of Cúcuta Tuesday, the head of Colombia's immigration office, Christian Kruger, said authorities across the country are on alert and prepared to rush to the Venezuelan border in case of a mass influx.

"Arbitrary arrests are rampant, as is physical abuse against detainees; alleged instances of torture and other violations and abuses of human rights are perpetrated by the Bolivarian National Guard, the Bolivarian National Police, and other security services", the agency said. "To be safe, we prefer to cross".

But the opposition says it is confident it will be able to shut down most of the country until Friday, when a massive demonstration has been scheduled in the capital, Caracas. "Therefore, our only interest regarding the current situation that Venezuela is going through [is] a solution and a negotiated and peaceful exit to the current circumstances", the Colombian Foreign Relations Ministry said.

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More than 100 people have been killed in protest-related violence, since nearly daily anti-government protests began on 1 April.

The Foreign Ministry accused Washington of providing "finance and logistical support to the Venezuelan opposition as an integral part of its destabilising efforts against democracy".

"Now, the demand is through explicit and concrete threats that open up the possibility of cutting off some type of trade: the purchase of Venezuela's main export product, oil, which the United States buys and pays for in cash", said Tronco. That's precisely what the Constituent Assembly might want to stop. "Is this video approved?" a grinning and clapping Maduro called out to the crowd, which roared back in approval.

Maduro on Sunday urged the opposition to refrain from violence, respect the voting and let those who wish to cast ballots do so.

The leftist leader was also feeling the heat at home, where protesters backing the 48-hour national strike blocked roads with makeshift barricades and many stores remained shut for the day.

The president's attorney general, Luisa Ortega, has also broken ranks with him over the Constituent Assembly and become a vociferous opponent.

Angel Zerpa went on a hunger strike after being arrested on Saturday, said Foro Penal, a group that defends political prisoners in this oil rich country that is in the throes of a political and economic crisis.

The Canadian government has been keeping a close eye on the Venezuelan crisis, with a number of strongly worded statements from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ms. Freeland in recent months. Rubio has been a strong proponent of sanctions against President Nicolas Maduro's increasingly authoritarian government and its crackdown on the opposition.

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