US Sanctions Won't Stop Venezuela, But Still Do Damage - Governor of Miranda

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Russian officials have lashed out at the United States over the upheaval in Venezuela, vowing to support embattled President Nicolas Maduro and sharply criticizing Washington for imposing sanctions on the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.

That means Maduro's increasingly isolated government will lose access to one of its most important sources of income and foreign currency along with around $7 billion in PDVSA assets.

Last week, Guaido, the leader of Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly, declared himself acting president, a move immediately supported by Trump. Other large vessels loaded with Venezuelan oil and fuel were waiting to depart for Singapore, India and China.

Mr Maduro, meanwhile, gathered with troops and, in a message directed at the United States, said he would not allow another Vietnam.

"We can't allow Venezuelan oil to be stolen", he said in a speech on state television.

OCBC Bank's economist Howie Lee does not expect the crisis there to stoke a huge rally in prices because, he said, the country's output has already been much reduced in the last three years.

The court also said prosecutors could investigate Guaido, in apparent retaliation for sweeping US sanctions on oil firm PDVSA, announced on Monday.

Reuters reported last week that private military contractors who carry out secret missions for Russian Federation had flown into Venezuela to beef up Maduro's security in the face of mass opposition protests last week, according to people close to them. "This said, it certainly won't come anywhere near what Venezuela needs to rebuild itself".

Russian Federation is one of the staunchest supporters of Mr Maduro and has offered to mediate.

Maduro on Monday pledged to retaliate against the USA measures, without giving specific details.

The court is stacked with Maduro loyalists.

Vice President Mike Pence also met Tuesday with a new Venezuelan envoy appointed by Guaido, Carlos Alfredo Vecchio. "I believe this is part of this provocative propaganda", the diplomat said. Guaido, who the U.S. State Department has determined to have authority over the nation's accounts at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY and other U.S. -insured banks, has yet to respond to the call for negotiations.

He said the certification would "help Venezuela's legitimate government safeguard those assets for the benefit of the Venezuelan people".

Russian Federation denounced the White House's cynicism for announcing measures against the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA and excluding from that sanction United States companies operating in the Latin American country.

China opposes unilateral sanctions to Venezuela, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday, adding that relevant countries imposing sanctions to Venezuela will deteriorate people's livelihood in Venezuela, and they should be responsible for the serious outcome.

Mr Maduro called the sanctions "criminal" and vowed to challenge the U.S. in court. The embattled president said he will be announcing a range of measures in response to the US sanctions within the coming hours but has provided no details.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a broadcast at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela January 29, 2019.

He said Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia, Russia, the Vatican and several unnamed European countries wanted talks between him and the opposition. Trump administration officials cite Cuba's constant pushing of anti-American propaganda into neighbouring South American territories as a wider issue and said President Trump is seeking to sow discord between both Cuba and Venezuela in an attempt to cause a "collapse of the regimes".

Mr Trump also said there was a "Massive protest expected today".

Maduro's inauguration sparked protests throughout Venezuela.

Without a source of revenue or control of the military, he faces hard odds in assuming leadership of the country, despite support across most of the Western Hemisphere.

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