Venezuela’s central bank has taken legal action against the Bank of England in a bid to obtain access to gold worth more than £831m. In a legal claim filed in London, the bank said it needed the gold to be transferred to the United Nations as a “matter of urgency” to fund healthcare equipment, medicine and food during the pandemic.
A former U.S. soldier captured in Venezuela said on Wednesday that he had been contracted by a Florida security firm to seize control of Caracas’ airport and bring in a plane to fly President Nicolas Maduro to the United States. Venezuelan authorities on Monday arrested the man, Luke Denman, along with fellow U.S. citizen Airan Berry and 11 others.
Donald Trump has denied any involvement by the US government in what Venezuelan officials have called a failed armed incursion in the South American country that led to the capture of two American “mercenaries”. “We’ll find out. We just heard about it,” Trump said when asked about the incident and the Americans’ arrests. “But it has nothing to do with our government.”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday said that two U.S. citizens have been detained as part of a group of “mercenaries” authorities captured in a raid. Maduro said during a state television address that 13 “terrorists” were arrested by Venezuelan authorities for allegedly being involved in a plot Maduro claimed was coordinated with Washington to oust him from power, according to Reuters.
Allies of both Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his bitter foe, opposition leader Juan Guaido, have secretly begun exploratory talks as concerns grow about the possible impact of coronavirus, according to sources on both sides. The discussions emerged from concerns about COVID-19, hyperinflation and growing fuel shortages, as well as worries among some members of the ruling Socialist Party about how to ensure their political survival under a possible change of government.
The Trump administration on Tuesday offered to begin lifting Venezuela sanctions if the opposition and members of President Nicolas Maduro’s Socialist Party form an interim government without him. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally announced the administration’s power-sharing “Democratic Transition Framework” for Venezuela, which proposes for the first time a “sequenced exit path” from tough U.S. sanctions.
The U.S. government on Thursday indicted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and more than a dozen other top Venezuelan officials on charges of “narco-terrorism,” the latest escalation of the Trump administration’s pressure campaign aimed at ousting the socialist leader. The State Department offered a reward of up to $15 million for information leading to the arrest of Maduro.
Venezuelan security forces on Sunday blocked opposition leader Juan Guaidó from a special session of the National Assembly, where he was expected to be re-elected as the legislature’s leader. In Guaidó’s absence, supporters of Maduro elected one of their own to head the body. Hours later, however, a majority of National Assembly lawmakers met in emergency session elsewhere, re-electing Guaidó and accusing Maduro of attempting a “parliamentary coup.”
President Trump issued an executive order on Monday that expands existing U.S. sanctions against Venezuela to include a total economic embargo against the country. The order means Americans are now banned from doing business with the Venezuelan government. The action to freeze assets places Venezuela on a par with North Korea, Iran, Syria and Cuba, the only other countries now under such stringent U.S. sanctions.
Venezuela’s government struck back at self-declared interim president Juan Guaido on Tuesday, with the Supreme Court imposing a travel ban and freeze on his bank accounts despite a warning from Washington of “serious consequences” if it did so. The Supreme Court approved a request from Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek Saab to open a preliminary investigation into Guaido based on accusations he helped foreign countries to interfere in internal matters.