The U.S. government could announce new sanctions to pressure Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as early as next week unless his military defies orders to block convoys of humanitarian aid planned for this weekend, a senior administration official said on Friday.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and other leaders in the Western Hemisphere will meet in Bogota on Monday. Depending on what happens on Venezuela’s borders over the weekend, the leaders could dramatically boost aid pledges to the country – or take new steps to crack down on Maduro, the official told reporters.
“If there is any type of violence, or if there is any type of negative reaction from the hierarchy of the Venezuela armed forces, there may also be measures that are announced by the vice president and other countries in regards to closing even further the international financial circle,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Pence will lead the U.S. delegation to the meeting of the Lima Group regional bloc, and so far has an “open script” for what he will propose, the official said.
“He has the carrots, but he’s also ready with the sticks for those that promote or execute violence,” the official said. “That will be announced not only by the United States, but by the rest of the region’s democracies.”
The United States has stockpiled aid on Colombia’s border with Venezuela at the request of opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom Washington and other dozens of other Western governments have recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate president since Maduro held elections last year decried as fraudulent.
Despite shortages of food and medicine, Maduro has denied there is a crisis in the country, and says the aid is aimed at undermining his government. He has ordered the country’s borders closed to keep the aid from entering.
Guaido and other opposition lawmakers have vowed to bring in aid on Saturday from the Brazilian town of Boa Vista as well as the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao.
Tensions are running high and there has been some violence. Soldiers killed two people and injured 15 near the border with Brazil, witnesses said.
The U.S. official described the aid convoys as a key test for the Venezuelan military as its leaders weigh whether to obey Maduro or Guaido, who has asked the military to let it pass.
“It’s really the first order he gives to them as their commander in chief,” the U.S. official added.
Trump thinks he can block shipments to Venezuela by posting Navy ships along their coastline
In a strange turn of national security events, President Donald Trump thinks that he can cripple Venezuela by stationing Navy ships along the coastline of the country. He seems to have forgotten that Venezuela is connected to other countries on its south, west and southeastern border.
According to Axios, five current and former officials have either directly heard Trump say it or have been briefed on his plan.
The plan would be to blockade the country in the south Carribean for at least a year and a half.
Trump blames Ocasio-Cortez for two Democrats who were nearly barred from Israel
President Donald Trump tweeted out Sunday that Democrats are ready to wage war against Israel because the prime minister followed his direction to ban Congresswomen from coming to the country.
Israel backed off after an uprising from both conservative and liberal groups, saying the purpose of any international visit should be to help educate, regardless of the support for the country.
"House Democrats want to take action against Israel because it is fighting back against two (maybe four) people that have said unthinkably bad things about it & the Israeli people. Dems have such disdain for Israel! What happened? AOC Plus 4 is the new face of the Democrat Party!" Trump announced.
‘Part of me wanted to leave’: Lone attendee of Steve King town hall turns out to be a ‘hungover’ Democrat
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is being told to resign by members of his own party who are tired of his overt racism. While many Republicans might exhibit racist tendencies and make apologies for the president's racism, King says things out loud the GOP would just assume he keep quiet on. The true test, however, comes from King's own district and whether or not they're willing to reelect him in November.
The key revelation came at a recent townhall King held, where the only person who attended was a hungover Democrat. The Iowa Starting Line reported the pathetic event, where it seemed more members of the press were willing to show up than actual constituents.