Trump Threatens Maduro with Sanctions if He Changes Constitution after Venezuelan Referendum

[7/19/17  ORLANDO AVENDAÑO]  United States President Donald Trump officially recognized the referendum held in Venezuela July 16, which expressed the population’s overwhelming disapproval of dictator Nicolás Maduro.

In response, Trump threatened his regime with swift, strong sanctions should the Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution take place July 30. The assembly appears to be Maduro’s method of appearing democratic while ensuring he and his supporters remain in power.

That’s not a situation many people in Venezuela want to see. During Sunday’s referendum, 98 percent of voters rejected the proposed assembly, according to Reuters.

“Yesterday, the Venezuelan people again made clear that they stand for democracy, freedom and rule of law,” a statement from the White House said. “Yet their strong and courageous actions continue to be ignored by a bad leader who dreams of becoming a dictator.”

“The United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles,” the statement continues. “If the Maduro regime imposes its Constituent Assembly on July 30, the United States will take strong and swift economic actions.”

Sanctions would most likely focus on the state-owned oil company PDVSA. Oil is the staple and lifeline of Venezuela’s economy — it makes up about 95 percent of its export revenue — and would sink the country’s economic crisis to even deeper, unprecedented levels, which could be disastrous. It could also affect oil reserves in the United States, eight percent of whose oil comes from Venezuela.

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In the meantime, the United States is calling for free and fair elections in the country, and in doing so, is aligning itself with the country’s opposition movement, its people and their quest “to restore their country to a full and prosperous democracy.”

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