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Pressure Increases on Venezuela’s Maduro

On Monday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met in Colombia with a number of countries to discuss the current situation in Venezuela. All agreed that current Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro must be leave office, but there appears to be no consensus yet on how to make that occur and the use of military force appears unlikely. The U.S. is imposing additional sanctions as well as sending millions of dollars in aid to surrounding countries to assist them with caring for Venezuelan refugees. In addition, the U.S. and about fifty other countries have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate president.

This past weekend in Venezuela saw violence at the country’s borders as the U.S. and others attempted to bring in food aid for the starving population. Maduro has attempted to prevent aid from entering the country and deployed armed gangs across the country. On Saturday, Guaidó reported that aid trucks had entered the country from Brazil, but they likely met the same fate as the other trucks: burned by Maduro’s forces.

Maduro does seem to be losing some support from the Venezuelan military. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who has been heavily involved in the situation in Venezuela, has reported that there have been 326 military defections so far.

The United Nations Security Council is now meeting to consider additional sanctions on Venezuela, and the U.S. is calling upon other countries to freeze Venezuela’s assets and begin the process of transferring them to Guaidó’s fledgling government.

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