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Trump imposes total economic embargo on Venezuela

Washington: US President Donald Trump has announced that his administration has imposed a total economic embargo on Venezuela, in an effort to step up pressure against the South American country.

In a letter to Congress on Monday, Trump said that he would issue an executive order freezing all assets of the Venezuelan government and linked entities and banning most economic transactions with them, allowing exemptions only for the provision of humanitarian aid and for official business conducted by the federal government, reports Efe news.

“I have determined that it is necessary to block the property of the Government of Venezuela in light of the continued usurpation of power by the illegitimate Nicolas Maduro regime, as well as the regime’s human rights abuses, arbitrary arrest and detention of Venezuelan citizens, curtailment of free press, and ongoing attempts to undermine Interim President Juan Guaido of Venezuela and the democratically-elected Venezuelan National Assembly,” Trump said in the document.

The letter referenced both the executive headed by President Maduro, who was re-elected to a second six-year term in January 2018 in what the opposition described as a fraudulent election, and the parallel government headed by Guaido, the speaker of the National Assembly who proclaimed himself “interim president” on January 23 of this year.

Guaido has been recognized by more than 50 countries in this capacity, yet he lacks any control over the Venezuelan bureaucracy or – most importantly – the armed forces.

The latest move by the US can be seen as an escalation of measures seeking to further debilitate the Maduro-led government – as the oil-rich Caribbean nation continues to face a chaotic political and economic crisis – while attempting to bolster Guaido’s power.