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Trump orders freeze on all Venezuelan govt. assets in US

A handout photo released by Miraflores presidential press office shows Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro (C) flanked by his wife, Cilia Flores (L), and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino (R) during the 82nd anniversary ceremony of the Bolivarian National Guard at the military academy in Caracas, Venezuela, on August 4, 2019. (Via AFP)

US President Donald Trump has ordered a freeze on all Venezuelan government assets in the United States, stepping up pressure on Caracas with the aim of ousting President Nicolas Maduro.

Trump issued an executive order on Monday, blocking “all property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela that are in the United States.”

The measure, the first of its kind against a government in the Western Hemisphere in over 30 years, also banned transactions with the Venezuelan government.

It also prohibited “the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of” designated Venezuelan figures.

The order came a few days after Trump threatened to impose a blockade on Venezuela as rounds of US sanctions failed to turn the Venezuelan military against Maduro.

Maduro hit back on Friday, saying such a measure would be “illegal” and Venezuelans were ready to respond in kind.

Washington has already imposed rounds of sanctions against the oil-rich country to oust Maduro and have him replaced with opposition figure Juan Guaido, who declared himself “interim president” earlier this year.

The Latin American country has been beset by political turbulence, and the opposition has resorted to inordinate measures and violence in an attempt to unseat the Maduro government, which nevertheless continues to stand.

The Trump administration has confiscated Venezuela’s state oil assets based in the US and has been channeling them to Guaido.

In its latest move against Caracas, the US on Friday slapped sanctions on two security officials for alleged human rights violations. Maduro denounced the new measures, describing them as “illegal, spurious decisions.”

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