U.S. gives control over bank accounts to Venezuela challenger

U.S. gives control over bank accounts to Venezuela challenger

U.S. gives control over bank accounts to Venezuela challenger

Violent street demonstrations erupted last week after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared during a major opposition rally in Caracas that he had assumed presidential powers under the constitution and planned to call fresh elections to end Maduro's "dictatorship".

President Trump noting the unrest in Venezuela issued a warning on Twitter about traveling there.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said he was prepared to hold negotiations with the US-backed opposition and added he would support early parliamentary elections, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday.

Maduro is not expected to stand down while he has the backing of senior military officers and has made daily visits to troops.

Workers wait for customers at their vegetable stand at a wholesale food market in Caracas, Venezuela, on January 28, 2019.

Though the opposition largely boycotted the 2018 presidential election last May-and they were criticized as fraudulent by some-Maduro won with more than 67 percent of the vote. "Guaido is being targeted by Venezuelan Supreme Court".

"We won't allow a Vietnam in Latin America", Maduro said. The sanctions announced Monday will freeze any assets the state-owned PDVSA has in the United States, and bars us firms and citizens from doing business with it.

"I am ready to sit down at the negotiating table with the Opposition so that we could talk for the good of Venezuela", Maduro told the Russian news agency in an interview.

Maduro, 56, says Guaido is staging a US -directed coup against him.

Russia, which has been Maduro's most vocal global supporter and is a major investor in Venezuela, applauded his willingness to negotiate.

Mr Maduro also accused the USA president of ordering a hit on him from Colombia. He said he was aware of Trump's alleged "orders" for the Colombian government and the local mafia to kill him.

The Supreme Court approved a request from Venezuelan Attorney-General Tarek Saab to open a preliminary investigation into Mr Guaido based on accusations he helped foreign countries interfere in internal matters.

In response to news earlier of the Attorney-General's plan, USA national security adviser John Bolton warned of "serious consequences for those who attempt to subvert democracy and harm Guaido", in a tweet that described Mr Saab as the "illegitimate former Venezuelan Attorney-General".

"What I asked President Putin is to maintain constant contact, provide support at the diplomatic and political levels at the United Nations and defend the truth of Venezuela internationally", he said. "Our hope is that, in what we believe will be the final period of the regime, it does not use violence to try to prolong its days in power", Abrams said.

That followed the United States' decision to hand control of Venezuela's USA bank accounts to Guaido, barring Maduro from accessing the funds.

Elliott Abrams, the recently-appointed USA envoy for Venezuela, said Washington was looking around the world for more assets of the Maduro government, including gold holdings and bank accounts.

He added the threat of USA sanctions, including cutting off Venezuelan oil revenues, contributed to the apparent softening of Maduro's stance.

Millions have left Venezuela since 2015, fleeing hyperinflation, poverty and food and medicine shortages.

Maduro called the sanctions "criminal" and vowed to challenge the United States in court. "I support what they're doing, but I don't like protests".

Juan Guaido, rival to current president Nicolas Maduro, has written to Prime Minister Theresa May and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, urging them to keep hold of the stocks.

Trump said to expect "massive protests" Wednesday in Venezuela and cautioned Americans from traveling there until further notice.

Protester Cesar Gonzalez, 55, said he wants his children and grandchildren to return to the country.

More than 40 people have died so far in and around the protests that began a week ago, the United Nations human rights office said.

In Washington, Trump's national security advisor warned of "serious consequences" if any harm comes to the Venezuelan opposition leader.

Maduro said the global media was misrepresenting Venezuela's reality to set the stage for an invasion.

"It will be really odd", she said.

The United States has refused to rule out military intervention in Venezuela.

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