Inter-American Development Bank leaves China in Venezuela row

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"Maduro and his enablers have distorted the original objective of the bank, which was founded to help the economic and social well-being of the Venezuelan people, as part of a desperate attempt to hold onto power", Treasury Secretary Steven T Mnuchin stated.

The U.S. had already sanctioned scores of top Venezuelan officials and has blocked U.S. banks from doing business with Venezuela, putting a financial strangle-hold on the cash-strapped country.

As Venezuela's national development bank, BANDES was created in order to promote the economic development and sustained growth of Venezuela, to include providing services such as monetary intermediation, credit, and security and commodity contracts brokerage services, among other financial and trust activities. The five have either denounced Maduro, or have joined more than 50 countries in recognizing Juan Guaido as the interim leader.

Vice President Mike Pence says Russia, China and Cuba are responsible for keeping disputed Venezuelan political leader Nicolás Maduro in power.

The face-off between Nicolas Maduro and his US-backed challenger Juan Guaido has escalated dramatically after Venezuelan intelligence agents seized Guaido's chief of staff and accused him of leading a "terrorist cell" plotting a wave of political assassinations.

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The United States is concerned about reports of prison officials preventing attorneys and families of detained USA citizens from delivering food and denying communication, the statement said.

They have threatened ever harsher sanctions meant to further isolate Maduro and cut off his administration's sources of revenue, but the humanitarian and political costs of further blanket measures could be high.

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton criticized via Twitter the reported arrest of Marrero, saying that the arrest "will not go unanswered". The United States will continue to stand strong with the people of Venezuela.

This latest decision comes at a time when Venezuela is going through one of its most intense economic struggles- with inflation rates within the country now at an all-time high (80,000%).

Amongst other sanctions, the United States has previously proscribed Venezuela's state-owned oil and natural gas company PDVSA in a bid to stifle funding to the Maduro regime.

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Nations in the Caribbean, however, have been split on whether to interfere in Venezuela. Venezuela owes more than $20 billion.

Meanwhile, the US State Department said on Friday the US is concerned about the welfare and safety of US citizens detained in Venezuela.

"So today, we call on every nation in the global community to join us, and to withdraw support from the failed dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro", wrote Pence.

St Lucia's Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said that those attending Friday's meeting "all recognise there's a problem in Venezuela". "I think there is a growing consensus that there needs to be fresh elections in Venezuela to resolve the humanitarian crisis".

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