Venezuela’s Maduro making surprise United Nations trip as pressure grows

April FrancisSep 27, 2018

Earlier on Tuesday, the U.S. imposed financial sanctions on four members of Maduro's inner circle, including his wife and the nation's vice-president, on allegations of corruption.

"There is a large and growing body of evidence that the Maduro regime has committed gross human rights violations against its own people", Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told a news conference with her counterparts during the annual United Nations General Assembly.

Delcy Rodriguez, the executive vice president of Venezuela and Jorge Rodriguez, the minister of popular power for communication and information, and Vladimir Padrino, the defense minister also were also sanctioned by the US government.

"I'm willing to meet with anybody anytime I can (to) save lives, help people", Trump said as he was pummeled by reporters' questions about whether the USA would ever intervene military to remove Maduro.

"I'm willing to meet with anybody anytime I can [to] save lives, help people", Trump said as he was asked whether the U.S. would ever intervene military to remove Maduro.

Maduro slammed the sanctions, describing them as a badge of honor for Venezuelan revolutionaries.

Trump said the new sanctions would target Maduro's inner circle and close advisers.

Separately, a group of Latin American nations will present a complaint in NY on Wednesday against the Maduro administration for alleged human rights abuses to be investigated by the International Criminal Court, officials said.

Rouhani warns USA over preventing Iran from exporting oil - ISNA
Iran has not requested a meeting with the U.S. president, a spokesman for Iran's mission to the United Nations said on Tuesday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives for the signing of a trade agreement with South Koreak in NY on September 24, 2018.

The newly sanctioned first lady, Cilia Flores, accompanied Maduro to NY.

But beyond rallying Maduro's opponents, it's unclear what impact the sanctions will have.

Adding to the political pressure, a bi-partisan group of 11 senators on Monday introduced sweeping legislation that calls for expanding humanitarian relief to Venezuelans by $40 million and increasing pressure on Maduro's government. The president is a vocal critic of socialism and communism and has used impoverished regimes like Venezuela and North Korea to highlight the stark consequences that result from these ideologies.

But his desire for some sort of reconciliation with the USA has increased as worldwide pressure has been building on his socialist government at a time of hyperinflation and widespread food and medicine shortages.

An estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled into neighboring countries in the last four years, threatening to upset regional stability. "We're going to take care of Venezuela, if he's here and he wants to meet, it was not on my mind, it was not on my plate, but if I can help people that's what I'm here for". "The strong ones and the less than strong ones - and you know what I mean by strong".

Trump said on Wednesday that all U.S. options are on the table to help end the political, economic and humanitarian chaos in Venezuela - even the "strong ones".

Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire reported this story at the United Nations and AP writer Scott Smith reported from Caracas, Venezuela.

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