At least 40 dead in Venezuela as US warns of 'serious consequences'

Venezuela's Guaido expresses concern over Greek position | News

National Security Adviser John Bolton said President Nicolás Maduro and his allies could "no longer loot the assets of the Venezuelan people".

The measures are the latest in an worldwide pressure campaign on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to cede power after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim leader last week.

"The United States is holding accountable those responsible for Venezuela's tragic decline, and will continue to use the full suite of its diplomatic and economic tools to support Interim President Juan Guaido, the National Assembly, and the Venezuelan people's efforts to restore their democracy", Mnuchin said.

Maduro accuses the United States of leading an open coup to oust him and exploit Venezuela's oil reserves, the largest in the world. Guaidó is regarded as Venezuela's real leader by the USA and the European Union, while Russian Federation and China have thrown their support behind Maduro.

Ramping up the pressure, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it had certified Guaido's authority to control certain assets held by the Federal Reserve Bank of NY or any other U.S. -insured banks. "They should bear responsibility for the serious consequences from this", he said.

Backed principally by the US, Guaido has been at loggerheads with Maduro and his regime since proclaiming himself the country's acting president January 23.

Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference.

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That all changed on Monday when the US Treasury department announced sanctions on PDVSA, the state oil monopoly.

A lack of export pipeline capacity means Canada will not be able to boost shipments to take advantage of USA sanctions against Venezuela's national oil company, analysts say.

The Trump administration had long held off targeting Venezuela's oil sector for fear that it would hurt United States refiners and raise oil prices for Americans.

Oil companies last week had been uncertain how to pay for new imports of Venezuelan crude oil. Transport costs would also jump because Venezuela's ports are not well-equipped to load supertankers for transporting oil to such distant markets.

But Venezuela is very reliant on the USA for its oil revenue.

"Sanctions on Venezuela will lead to the deterioration of conditions of people's lives", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a news briefing in Beijing.

He also moved to set up new boards of directors for Citgo and PDVSA, which could allow his parallel government to collect money held in escrow accounts in the United States.

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