US blames Russia and Cuba for Venezuela’s crisis

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UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Russia and Cuba for stirring Venezuela’s political crisis with President Nicolas Maduro and urged India not to help the Maduro government buy Venezuelan oil.

Pompeo’s comments came on Monday after the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Russian bank Ivrovianas Mosnarbank for helping the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA to evade US financial sanctions.

“This story is not complete without acknowledging the pivotal role played by Cuba and Russia and continuing to undermine the democratic dreams and well-being of the Venezuelan people,” the minister told reporters.

“Moscow, like Havana, continues to provide political cover for the Maduro regime while pressing countries to ignore the democratic legitimacy of interim President Juan Juan Guido.”

Guido won the recognition of the United States and more than 50 other countries as interim president of the country.

But Maduro still enjoys the support of Russia and China as well as his control over state institutions, including the military. Maduro Guido is accused of trying to overthrow the regime under the guidance of the United States.

Pompeo met with Indian Foreign Minister Vijay Gokli on Monday and the two ministers discussed India’s purchase of oil from the Maduro government.

“We ask India to do the same thing that we ask of all countries, which is not to be the economic lifeline of the Maduro system,” Pompeo said.

“I am very confident at the same time that India is very supportive of our efforts on Iran and I am sure it also understands the real threat to the Venezuelan people.”

The Indian market is important to Venezuelan economy because it is historically the second largest customer to pay for Venezuelan crude oil in cash after the United States, which handed over control of most of these revenues to Guido through sanctions on Maduro.

Pompeo said Russian oil giant Rosneft was also violating US sanctions by buying crude oil from Venezuela’s state-run National Oil Company (PDSA), which was sanctioned in January.

Rosneft described Pompeo’s remarks as “unfounded accusations”.

“Rosneft does not practice politics and start purely commercial operations,” she said.

“Rosneft’s activities in Venezuela are in line with international law,” she said.

Washington imposed sanctions on Russian bank Efrovanasen Mosnarbank on Monday because of its dealings with Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.

“This move shows that the United States will take action against foreign financial institutions that support Maduro’s illegal regime and contribute to the economic meltdown and the humanitarian crisis that is afflicting the people of Venezuela,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

According to the announcement, all US assets will be frozen for the bank, which is described as a joint ownership between Russian and Venezuelan state companies and US citizens will be prevented from dealing with it.

Washington has called on foreign banks to ensure that Maduro and Venezuelan government officials do not conceal financial assets abroad.

US national security adviser John Bolton warned foreign banks last week that they risked being exposed to US sanctions if proven to be hidden by Venezuelan assets.

This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.

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