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Elliott Abrams Threatens Still More Sanctions Against Venezuela
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=50330"><span class="small">Lesley Wroughton and Patricia Zengerle, Reuters</span></a>   
Sunday, 10 March 2019 13:35

Excerpt: "U.S. President Donald Trump's special representative for Venezuela pledged on Thursday that Washington would 'expand the net' of sanctions on the South American nation, including more on banks supporting President Nicolas Maduro's government."

Elliott Abrams. (photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Elliott Abrams. (photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Elliott Abrams Threatens Still More Sanctions Against Venezuela

By Lesley Wroughton and Patricia Zengerle, Reuters

10 March 19


.S. President Donald Trump's special representative for Venezuela pledged on Thursday that Washington would "expand the net" of sanctions on the South American nation, including more on banks supporting President Nicolas Maduro's government.

"There will be more sanctions on financial institutions that are carrying out the orders of the Maduro regime," the envoy, Elliott Abrams, told a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing.

The United States and more than 50 other countries have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as oil-rich Venezuela's interim president and increased pressure on Maduro, a socialist, to step down.

Washington this week revoked the visas of senior Venezuelan officials and said on Wednesday it had identified efforts by Maduro to work with foreign banks to move and hide money.

Abrams, a neoconservative who has long advocated an activist U.S. role in the world, said he had asked European banks to take steps to shield individual Venezuelans' assets from Maduro's government. He did not name the banks.

Some lawmakers pressed Abrams about granting temporary protected status (TPS) for more than 70,000 Venezuelans in the United States.

More than 3 million people are believed to have fled Venezuela amid a deep economic crisis marked by shortages of food and medicine and hyperinflation.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee's Western Hemisphere subcommittee, which held the hearing, warned that millions of Venezuelan refugees could threaten regional stability.


"This has the potential to be a regional catastrophe of epic proportions," Rubio, who has worked closely with Trump on the administration's Venezuela policy, told the hearing.

Maduro, who took over as president in 2013 and was re-elected last year in a vote widely viewed as fraudulent, blames the crisis on a U.S.-backed sabotage campaign. His opponents say his socialist policies have caused the meltdown.

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who wrote legislation calling for TPS, said: "The Venezuelan diaspora is fantastic, they're incredible. All the more reason to give them TPS."

Later on Thursday, 24 senators - including Menendez and Rubio, but none of Trump's other fellow Republicans - sent a letter asking the president to designate Venezuelans for TPS protection.

Trump, who has repeatedly drawn a hard line on immigration, has sought to limit the program, seeking for example to end TPS status granted to immigrants from Honduras, Haiti and other countries struck by war and natural disasters.

Abrams said TPS was under consideration and he would discuss it with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Abrams accused Russia and Cuba of shielding Maduro, who Abrams said was protected by "thousands and thousands" of Cuban military and intelligence officials while Moscow has supplied tens of millions of dollars to the government.

Abrams confirmed media reports that he had held at least two rounds of secret talks with Maduro's foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza. He said he had met with Russia's ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, but not yet with officials from China, which also has backed Maduro.

Mark Green, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said Venezuela's economy had contracted by 50 percent and estimates were it could contract by another third this year.

"When you have inflation by some estimates 2 million percent, nobody has the ability to buy anything anyway, so there will be profound despair and hopelessness," Green told the hearing.

Abrams said the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund had plans involving "billions of dollars" of funding to rebuild Venezuela after Maduro was no longer in charge.

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+3 # DongiC 2019-03-10 14:04
Abrams is up to his old tricks sewing chaos and disruption wherever he goes in Latin America. Look for American oil companies to do quite well in Venezuela if American Conservatives succeed in driving Maduro out of office. The poor in that country better watch out for enormous blood shed if the Americans send combat troops. We are moving our troops out of Syria and, probably, Afghanistan. They must go somewhere useful. Otherwise, why be an imperial power spending
tons of money on the military. More money than the next fourteen countries in the world combined. Welcome to crazy America.
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-10 15:01
"Maduro, who took over as president in 2013 and was re-elected last year in a vote widely viewed as fraudulent, "

Viewed a fraudulent by whom? Why can't this author say. The answer is that the only people who see Maduro's election as fraudulent are the neo-cons in the Trump regime. They are telling us that Guiado is the legitimate president, but Guiado did not run for president and he received zero votes. He swore himself into office after a phone call from Mike Pence. Anyone who calls Guiado legitimate and Maduro a fraud is clearly insane.

Everything described in this article is the normal process of the CIA run "color revolution." Guiado was trained by the CIA revolution organizing group called CANVAS. He spent almost a year training with this group.

Guiado has called on the US to invade his country and install him as president. Does he know how many people will be killed if the US invades? The US will first bomb all military installations in Venezuela, bomb all communications stations, and bomb the homes of Venezuela's current government leaders. Venezuelans loyal to Maduro will be rounded up and placed in torture prisons, just as has happened in dozens of nations. And Guiado calls himself president of this country.
+2 # ktony 2019-03-10 16:14
Having the blood-soaked master of death squads back in the saddle is one of the more horrible things Trump has inflicted on the world, and on the tattered image of the US.

Blather from the head of USAID/CIA front about inflation in Venezuela conveniently ignores that the economic problems of the country are driven in large part by the illegal US sanctions. Same old play-book that has been used over and over in the service of regime change.
+1 # 1dfnslblty 2019-03-10 20:04
Murderers and psychopaths aiming to bleed Venezuela must be countered; The Hague and River island to start.
0 # janie1893 2019-03-11 00:31
.....and when the people are starving and rioting, Trump will move in American troops just to show that he can!
0 # laborequalswealth 2019-03-11 08:34
Is it just me or does Abrams resumble Max Schreck in the 1922 German horror film "Nosferatu"?
+1 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-03-11 15:31
Abrams and Bolton belong in prison for War Crimes. The USA is still pissed off it couldn't overthrow Chavez after he nationalized the oil (worlds largest reserves) away from Exxon. Guido never even ran for President. Would be like Russia demanding Nancy Pelosi be our President. A lot of people are suffering and Abrams and Bolton are tightening the "screws". Shame on them.
0 # lfeuille 2019-03-11 21:19
The way to get rid of Abrams and all the other criminal appointees is to get rid of Trump. Not in two years, NOW.