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.
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.
The Trump administration announced Monday it is sanctioning Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, blocking $7 billion in assets and potentially costing the country $11 billion in oil revenues, according to National Security Adviser John Bolton. The sanctions block all U.S. persons or businesses from working with Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., known by the acronym PDVSA, and funds from any purchases of Venezuelan oil will now have to go into special accounts Maduro’s government is blocked from accessing, according to the Treasury Department.
The United States is seeking to ensure that Venezuelan oil revenue goes to opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido, and to cut off money from increasingly isolated President Nicolas Maduro, a top U.S. official said on Thursday. Such a move would significantly strengthen the hand of Guaido, who swore himself in as interim head of state on Wednesday with the support of Washington and nations around the region.
Amid accusations of crimes against humanity from six nations, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro attended the UN General Assembly on Wednesday to ‘defend his country.’ Maduro previously threatened to skip the assembly over fears for his safety. The US Treasury Department imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela’s First Lady Cecilia Flores a year after freezing Maduro’s assets.