U.S. calls for Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro to step down

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro holds a ballot as he takes part in a voting drill ahead of May 20 presidential election in Caracas Venezuela

U.S. calls for Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro to step down

"There will be no real election in Venezuela on May 20, and the world knows it", Pence said.

The Venezuelan deputy minister for North America and representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), Samuel Moncada, rejected on Monday the statements made by the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, and demanded respect for the peoples of Latin America.

Those sanctioned Monday are in addition to the dozens of current and former Venezuelan officials the USA already has targeted. "Every free nation gathered here must take stronger action to stand with the Venezuelan people and stand up to their oppressors".

"The so-called elections in Venezuela scheduled for May 20 will be nothing more than a fraud and a sham", Mr Pence said.

The funding announcement comes roughly a month after Vice President Pence announced that the US would provide almost $16 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuelans who have fled a deepening economic and political crisis in the country.

"We believe it is time to do more, much more", Pence said in an address to the OAS in Washington.

Martin exploited his position as a former Chief of Financial Intelligence for Venezuela's National Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services and accepted bribes from drug traffickers in Venezuela and Colombia to traffic narcotics through Venezuelan airspace, OFAC said. Maduro asked a crowd in a rally on Tuesday in southern Amazonas state, condemning the US president and vice president for sanctions on his government.

The 20 companies - of which 16 are based in Venezuela - were used to launder illicit proceeds from the drug trade, according to the statement. "Systemic corruption and a collapse in the rule of law are defining features of Venezuela's government", said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

Oil prices rose to their highest levels since late 2014 on Monday, boosted by fresh troubles for Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and a looming decision on whether the United States will reimpose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

Output could fall by another 200,000 b/d by December, an oil ministry source told S&P Global Platts last week on condition of anonymity.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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