US, Russia fail in rival bids for United Nations action on Venezuela

Maduro removes tonnes of gold from central bank

Maduro removes tonnes of gold from central bank

Guaido spoke to reporters in Brazil's capital of Brasilia after meeting with President Jair Bolsonaro, who recognizes Guaido and has taken a hard line against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Friday's action targets six security officials "who control numerous groups that prevented humanitarian aid from entering Venezuela, thereby exacerbating the humanitarian crisis that has left millions of Venezuelans starving and without access to medical care under the Maduro regime", Treasury said in a statement.

"You know what is happening with oil assets of Venezuela located in the United States and other countries that show antipathy towards Venezuela, deprive it of assets and financial resources".

Friday's actions are the second set of sanctions announced this week.

US sanctions block any assets the individuals control in the USA and bars USA entities from doing any business or financial transactions with them.

Maduro still controls the military, state institutions and oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, which provides 90% of the country's export revenue.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said in an interview that she "absolutely" did not support Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, and that she thought that the aid that the United States was sending into that country was a pretext for an eventual military invasion of Venezuela.

The Russian text also expressed "concern over the threats to use force" against Venezuela. "Maduro won't step down until the day he steps down", he said.

"[For our] Dignity, we will fight harder than ever", the president said during a rally.

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The Treasury Department noted that after blocking humanitarian aid convoys attempting to enter Venezuela from Colombia, Maduro "severed diplomatic ties with Colombia".

Guaido's press team said he was scheduled to go to Argentina later on March 1 to meet with President Mauricio Macri, a strong critic of Maduro.

The Argentine foreign ministry said in a statement that it expects the peaceful and safe return of the opposition leader to Venezuela, without risk to him, his family or his supporters.

"As for the next steps for Venezuelans, I announce my return home from Ecuador", Guaido told a news conference in the coastal town of Salinas alongside Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno.

Guaido also called for further protests upon his return.

Russia supplied about 30,000 tons of wheat to Venezuela in January, following more than 250,000 tons past year, Lavrov said in comments carried by Russian news agency Interfax. "We hope that it comes to an end quickly and peacefully." .

The United States targeted Venezuela's government with new sanctions on Monday and called on allies to freeze the assets of state-owned PDVSA after deadly violence blocked humanitarian aid from reaching the country over the weekend.

"We have made the argument, unsuccessfully to date, to both Russian Federation and China that they are not helping themselves", Abrams said. "We (Venezuela and Russia) are strategic partners".

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