The animosity between Venezuela and USA hit a new high, with Donald Trump’s national adviser John Bolton announcing action against any US citizen doing business in commodities with the South American country.
John Bolton posted on Twitter: “My advice to bankers, brokers, traders, facilitators, and other businesses: don’t deal in gold, oil, or other Venezuelan commodities being stolen from the Venezuelan people by the Maduro mafia. We stand ready to continue to take action.”
The Trump administration has issued warning against trading in ‘stolen’ Venezuelan gold after reports emerged on Wednesday that a Russian plane took off with 20 tons of gold from the central bank. The country’s President Nicolas Maduro announced that Venezuela is severing all ties with USA, and has asked US officials to leave the country within a week. Meanwhile, Juan Guaido on Wednesday declared himself as the acting president.
On the same day, a Russian chartered plane with just two crew members landed in Caracas, and left the city later in the day, allegedly carrying heavy amount of gold. A Reuters witness said the flight took off from Venezuela at 4.52 pm. Reports say another Russian cargo plane had landed in the same airport about an hour before.
Jose Guerra, an ex-central bank official, said it was likely that the plane would carry off gold reserves to Russia. However, the bank refused to comment on this.
The speculations gain ground because Russia said recently that it expected Venezuela to pay its debts. Russia and China lent several billions to Venezuela in the past.
On Monday, President Trump, who aims to oust President Nicolas Maduro, barred US customers from making transactions with the Venezuelan oil firm. Maduro says he is keen on a discussion with Guaido. But after the previous failed talks between the government and the opposition, opponents think Maduro is just buying his time.
Carlos Vecchio, Guaido’s envoy to USA, made it clear that talks can occur only for Maduro’s exit as the President and holding of fresh elections. On the contrary, Maduro’s government says the next presidential polls won’t happen before 2025.
Thousands of Guaido’s supporters staged protests across Venezuela on Wednesday. The riots have claimed 40 lives so far. Hundreds of rioters have been detained. People in Venezuela are getting restless, with their President clamping social media.
Maduro claims Trump has issued “order to Colombia to kill me”, and saying if he is assassinated, “Donald Trump will be responsible”.
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