The Trump administration hit Venezuela with a new round of economic sanctions Wednesday in a bid to discourage President Nicolas Maduro from rewriting his nation's constitution, which USA officials said could doom the Latin American democracy.
Mexico presented a resolution, supported by the US and other allies, criticizing Venezuela for its treatment of violent protests against the Maduro government.
The declaration was echoed by the global peasant organization Via Campesina, which likewise expressed its support for the Maduro government in the face of what it termed an "escalation of external aggression".
The leftist leader was also feeling the heat at home, where protesters backing the 48-hour national strike blocked roads with makeshift barricades and many stores remained shut for the day.
SAN JUAN-The Puerto Rican duo behind the worldwide Latin pop hit "Despacito" slammed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for "illegally" using their song to promote a controversial vote he is organizing. He urged the military to cooperate by stopping support for Sundays election so the Constituent Assembly can not be established.
The US agencies are trying to ensure that Lulla is barred from standing as a candidate for the next presidential elections by implicating him in false court cases. The most serious option is financial sanctions that would halt dollar payments for the country's oil or a total ban on oil imports to the United States, a top cash-paying client. But as the vote has drawn closer, it has become clear that Maduro's intent has always been to consolidate his power, and impose on Venezuela's 31 million people an authoritarian, pseudo-socialist system.
Rather than a unilateral set of sanctions which could further endanger the starving populace, he suggests we freeze the assets of Maduro government officials and family members. The strongest of those actions would be sanctions against state oil company PDVSA, which could risk bringing down what remains of the Venezuelan economy and coalescing nationalist support around Maduro.
"A flawed ANC election process all but guarantees that a majority of the Assembly's members will represent the interests of President Maduro's government", the Treasury Department said.
Three days of protests are planned leading up to Sunday's vote, starting with a 48-hour general strike that began Wednesday and culminating Friday with a demonstration billed as a "takeover of Caracas".
"Those who from the outside try to give lessons on democracy and human rights while encouraging coup-mongering violence and terrorism should take their hands off that nation", Cuban Communist Party Second Secretary Jose Ramon Machado Ventura said at a ceremony marking the anniversary of a failed barracks uprising that is considered the beginning of Fidel Castro's revolution. Lawmakers in opposition to Maduro were attacked in the Congress building of Caracas earlier this month by anti-government mobs.
"In mind, spirit and conviction, I have accompanied you in this fight on the streets", López, 46, said in the 15-minute video.
Venezuela's foreign minister doubled down Tuesday on his government's accusation that the United States is working with Mexico and Colombia to oust President Nicolás Maduro. He calls on Venezuelans "to stop this with peaceful resistance and deep commitment to our efforts". Ramirez is accused of helping to organize Sunday's vote. "And you all know that if I could, I would physically be at the front".