United States sanctions six Venezuelan security officials over blocking aid

Food and medicine storage points requested by the Venezuelan opposition

Food and medicine storage points requested by the Venezuelan opposition

The Venezuelan government has closed borders with Brazil and Colombia and some air and sea routes.

A day after Russian Federation and China vetoed a USA and European resolution at the UN Security Council that called for unimpeded aid deliveries, Washington said it was targeting six Venezuelan military officers for stopping last weekend's US-led convoy.

The government of disputed President Nicolas Maduro has refused to recognize that there is a humanitarian crisis in the country and is not permitting aid from the United States to enter the country, saying it is a pretext for a US military invasion.

On Friday, department Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the latest sanctions are targeting Venezuelan officials, who are blocking humanitarian aid from entering the country. "I don't have anything to announce, but for those people who think Cuba wants better relations with the United States, just take a look at what Cuba is doing Venezuela because I think it undermines that conclusion very much".

"Well the constitution of Venezuela says that there needs to be an election called within 30 days and we're waiting for that to happen".

The United States today announced sanctions on Venezuelan officials who blocked a humanitarian aid convoy last week, as opposition leader Juan Guaido toured South America to drum up support for an end to President Nicolas Maduro's government. The U.S. text garnered a minimum nine votes - forcing the double veto, while South Africa also voted no.

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Minutes later, the Security Council voted on the Russian draft, which received four votes in favor, seven against and four abstentions.

Earlier on Friday in Paraguay, he said 600 members of Venezuela's armed forces had already abandoned Maduro's government following the clashes over the aid.

The council then voted on a rival Russian draft that aimed to express support for a political solution and back the Venezuelan government as the primary coordinator of worldwide assistance efforts in the country. It also called for peaceful settlement of disputes and a political solution, and it reaffirmed the primary role of the government in seeking and consenting to global aid.

Meanwhile, Russia is vowing to counter any attempts to meddle in Venezuelan domestic affairs as it pledges its support of the Maduro regime. Juan Guaidó's trip to Brazil came as Venezuela's foreign minister told a U.N. body Wednesday the United States is plotting to overthrow Venezuela's government. "If there are threats to peace, those threats come from overseas".

The decision to move the office to Moscow came after a source at Gazprombank told Reuters last month it would freeze PDVSA's accounts and halt transactions with the firm to reduce the risk of the Russian lender falling under US sanctions.

The U.S. draft resolution expressed "deep concern" at "the violence and excessive use of force by Venezuelan security forces against unarmed, peaceful protesters" and "recent attempts to block the delivery of humanitarian aid".

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