Published: Sun, March 24, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

IADB cancels China meeting after Beijing bars Venezuela representative

IADB cancels China meeting after Beijing bars Venezuela representative

Venezuela's Interior Minister has confirmed the arrest of self-proclaimed "interim president" Juan Guaido's chief of staff. "Maduro and his enablers have distorted the original goal of the bank, which was founded to help the economic and social well-being of the Venezuelan people, as part of a desperate attempt to hold onto power", said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

The State Department said on the same day that "the US government today determined that persons operating in Venezuela's financial sector could be subject to sanctions".

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido's top aide was taken away in the middle of the night by masked intelligence agents who broke down his door early Thursday, drawing condemnation from the United States and other countries pushing to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido, 35, declared himself interim president on January 23 and has the backing of the U.S. and more than 50 other countries.

Marrero lives in Caracas, near lawmaker Sergio Vergara - who said his residence was also searched by agents of what he called the "usurper regime" of embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido traveled around South America in February to drum up diplomatic support, defying a travel ban imposed by the pro-government Supreme Court.

Trump administration officials have called on the IADB since past year to hold the meeting in the Americas, where all of its borrowers are located.

"Either he doesn't dare to jail me, or he's not in charge", Guaido, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, said during an appearance at a school. "The means by which I support regime change in Venezuela is to have a new election under an interim government, and for there to be, you know, a vote and whoever wins should do that", he added.

The U.S. has already sanctioned scores of top Venezuelan officials and has blocked U.S. banks from doing business with that country, imposing a financial strangle-hold on the cash-strapped nation. "Do not test the resolve of this Administration", US National Security Advisor John Bolton tweeted.

The crisis has put some Caribbean nations in a tough spot. And every nation of the world owes it to hopeful young Venezuelans like Daniel to do the same.

The United States this month withdrew all its diplomats from Venezuela. They purchased the oil under the PetroCaribe arrangement, which gave them low-interest credit terms, but have left them indebted to Caracas. "He should be released immediately and his safety guaranteed".

"Changing Venezuela's representative at the IADB won't help solve Venezuela's problems and (the proposal) damaged the atmosphere of the IADB annual meeting and disturbed preparations for the meeting", he said.

It would have been the first time the IDB - whose biggest member country is the USA - had held the event in China, which has become a major player in Latin America, pouring more than US$50 billion into Venezuela in oil-for-loans agreements over the past decade.

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