Arreaza told reporters at the United Nations after meeting with Secretary General Antonio Guterres. US and Latin American leaders say Maduro's government is veering toward dictatorship. He said it would be meant to pave the way for a U.S. military intervention. Mnuchin called Venezuela's situation "unacceptable" and said that the Trump administration is interested in restoring democracy in the country, not regime change per se. The objective of these general licenses is to limit harm passed on to the Venezuelan and American people, the White House said. The people who described the move did so on condition of anonymity and declined to provide details on the sanctions that would be imposed.
Reflecting a strong lobby effort by the US oil industry, Friday's action stopped short of cutting off USA imports of Venezuelan oil that are crucial both to Venezuela's economy and to US refiners.
The White House said it would allow certain exceptions, such as for humanitarian aid, in order "to mitigate harm to the American and Venezuelan people". He is notably accused of having elected a constituent assembly "puppet", at the end of July, the constituent assembly has now taken hold of the legislative powers of the national assembly, the only institution in the country controlled by the opposition since the end of 2015. The opposition boycotted the vote to elect the body's 545 delegates.
Asked about the Vice President's recent trip to South America, McMaster said that he doesn't think "there's ever been a time where we've been better aligned with our partners in the region".
"The birthright of the Venezuelan people has always been and will always be libertad", he wrote, using the Spanish word for "freedom". Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Friday at the United Nations that the new USA financial sanctions are "the worst aggressions to Venezuela in the last 200 years, maybe".
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"'This will also have a serious impact on the country's oil operations because these instruments were being used to finance purchases being made by Petróleos de Venezuela".
"We will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles", Pence said. 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. In response, Maduro announced a nationwide military drill to fend off a possible "imperialist" invasion.
"We can't do it alone", an apparent reference to Trump's remarks earlier this month that there was a possibility for the U.S.to invade Venezuela.
USA Today reports that these sanctions are created to cut off some loopholes in earlier sanctions by targeting the government and PDVSA directly.