Trump's Executive Order For Venezuela Targets Maduro's Financing

Venezuela Will Hold Referendum on New Constitution

Venezuela Will Hold Referendum on New Constitution

"We have an obligation to increase military power for the defense and guarantee of national, South American, and Caribbean peace", he continued.

"Venezuela is not very far away, and the people are suffering and they're dying", Trump said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the measures in greater detail.

The move comes ahead of a meeting of heads of states including Venezuela that will seek accords on oil prices, Bloomberg quoted Maduro as saying on Venezuelan state television.

The order also permits the Treasury Department to help finance humanitarian aid for Venezuela citizens. The body is charged with rewriting the country's 1999 constitution and has given permission to Maduro to rule by decree.

Alejandro Jesus Rebolledo, a Venezuelan judge who fled the country recently, also accused the government of crimes such as money laundering and drug trafficking.

Earlier this week Vice President Mike Pence vowed the United States would not allow "the collapse of Venezuela", saying such an event would "endanger" countries in the wider region.

"The birthright of the Venezuelan people has always been and will always be libertad", he wrote, using the Spanish word for "freedom". "You may be assured: Under the leadership of President Donald Trump, the United States of America will continue to bring the full measure of American economic and diplomatic power to bear until democracy is restored in Venezuela". But it's unclear how quickly the impact on the streets will be felt.

White House placed in lockdown mode after mysterious package found inside premises
According to initial reports, the Secret Service has sent everyone including mediapersons to the briefing room, immediately. The incident came shortly after a different suspicions package was found at 1:10 p.m. on the Rotunda steps of the U.S.

He warned this week that the Trump administration was readying a "commercial, oil and financial blockade" in the mould of the one that punished Cuba for decades. That, they hope, will force Maduro to either back down from its illegitimate efforts to create a rubber-stamp parliament or perhaps even foment some cracks among Maduro's inner circle. The military was conducting drills on Friday ahead of weekend training.

The statement claimed that the new order would not harm the Venezuelan people.

Previous sanctions targeted 30 Venezuelan officials, including Maduro, himself.

As NPR's Laurel Wamsley reported at the time, the pressure was aimed at preventing Venezuela from going forward with a controversial election to form an all-powerful National Constituent Assembly.

The president is already struggling to combat widespread shortages and triple-digit inflation as oil production - the economy's lifeblood - has tumbled to its lowest level in more than two decades. Any economic sanctions, however mild, increase the risk of a default on Venezuela's ballooning debt. The Venezuelan economy is heavily dependent on oil exports, with state oil firm PDVSA being the government's single largest source of revenue.

Martinez, on the other hand, will be in charge of forging better ties with foreign companies operating in Venezuela amid a political and economic crisis that has made Venezuela a regular in daily headlines.

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