U.S. Asserts Guaido's Control Over Key Venezuela Bank Accounts


Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader who proclaimed himself interim president last week with U.S. backing, and who is supported by most Western countries, says Maduro stole his re-election and must resign to allow new, fair polls.

U.S. President Donald Trump says embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is willing to negotiate with his opponents to solve the political crisis in the South American nation, but warned Americans not to travel to Venezuela "until further notice".

Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek Saab sought a preliminary investigation of Guaido on the basis that he helped foreign countries interfere.

Proceeds from PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil company that also owns USA oil refiner and petroleum product retailer Citgo, will now be withheld from disputed President Nicolas Maduro.

Pompeo determined that Guaido has authority over the nation's accounts at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY and other US -insured banks, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.

"Venezuela has risen up to dream of the country we want to be", said Guaido.

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Speaking at the walkout, Guaido said he wasn't losing any sleep over the probe.

But he says the expected shortage of heavy crude supply in the USA will likely increase prices throughout the North American market, including in Canada.

The Bloomberg news agency has cited Venezuelan lawmaker Jose Guerra as tweeting on Tuesday that a Russian Boeing 777 plane had landed in Caracas the day before to spirit away 20 tonnes of gold from the vaults of the country's central bank.

"Venezuela is set on change", Mr Guaido said.

Regarding the possibility of inviting worldwide mediators, Maduro said that "there are several governments and organizations in the world that demonstrate their honest concern about what is happening in Venezuela".

Novaya Gazeta also reported the plane carried two crew teams while suggesting there was no obvious reason for the plane to fly to Venezuela as Russian tourists are officially advised not to travel there because travel packages to Venezuela from Moscow were halted years ago due to a decline in sales.

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The head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela's interim president before thousands of supporters last week.

It came just hours before a midday strike announced by opposition leader Guaido.

Washington on Monday announced export sanctions against Venezuela's state-owned oil firm PDVSA, limiting transactions between USA companies that do business with Venezuela through purchases of crude oil and sales of refined products.

Russia, which like China has loaned and invested billions of dollars in OPEC member Venezuela, called on Guaido to drop his demand for a snap election and instead accept mediation.

The sanctions will not likely affect consumer prices at the gas pump but will hit oil refiners, particularly those on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The sanctions are likely to hit daily life hard in Venezuela, where public spending is nearly entirely funded by oil.

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The collapse of world energy prices, corruption and failed socialist policies have created an economic and humanitarian crisis in oil-rich Venezuela.