Venezuela holds military exercises after United States threat

Venezuela holds military exercises after United States threat

"No military actions are anticipated in the near future", said National Security Advisor HR McMaster on Friday.

Trump also hasn't done anything about Citgo, Venezuela's biggest asset in the U.S.

US President Donald Trump recently said he would not rule out a "military option" in Venezuela to oust President Nicolas Maduro from power.

Cuba on Saturday rejected new economic and financial sanctions imposed on Venezuela by US President Donald Trump, as tensions between Caracas and Washington continue to grow.

Communication Minister Ernesto Villegas called on Venezuelans to be "understanding" in the face of the sanctions, which he said amount to a "declaration of economic war".

'All the people of Venezuela, all high-ranking military personnel are to take part in these drills to prepare to protect us, our territory, our sovereignty, including by military means, ' he told RT after meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in NY. The new measures ban trades of Venezuelan debt and prevent the country's state-run oil company, PDVSA from selling new bonds to US citizens or financial groups. Additionally, Rodríguez's comments would suggest the Maduro regime is willing to accept humanitarian aid being offered by various countries across the world.

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Since early April, Venezuela has been flooded with mass protests after the Supreme Court's decision to significantly restrict the power of the National Assembly, which is in opposition to left-wing President Nicholas Maduro.

Reflecting those concerns and a strong lobby effort by the US oil industry, Friday's action stopped short of cutting off USA imports of Venezuelan oil that are crucial both to both Venezuela's economy and to Gulf refiners.

Rodríguez said the sanctions Trump signed via executive order on Friday would lead the country "to a cessation of worldwide payments" and "sharpen economic aggression against the Venezuelan people".

Venezuela has been wracked by months of political crisis.

But Trump's rhetoric might have worked in Maduro's favor.

A senior administration official in Washington told reporters that the U.S. was trying "to create a series of escalatory measures that we can take". As well, they are not allowed to made new transactions with the Venezuelan oil company, PDVSA, as the administration deems that such businesses fuel Nicolas Maduro's dictatorship. With Venezuela's streets calmer than they have been for months, and the opposition reeling from its failure to prevent the constitutional assembly from going forward, action from an increasingly concerned worldwide community represents the best chance of reining in Maduro, he added. Venezuela risks a default on ballooning debt.

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