Venezuela’s military anounces plans for drills in response to Trump’s warning of possible military action, in Caracas.
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The Trump administration Friday slapped sweeping financial sanctions on Venezuela, barring banks from any new financial deals with the government or state-run oil giant PDVSA.The sanctions Trump signed by executive order are bound to dramatically escalate tensions between Venezuela and the U.S. and exacerbate the country's economic crisis.Trump's National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster ruled out any armed intervention in Venezuela, at least in the "near future".They also prohibit dealings in certain existing bonds owned by the Venezuelan public sector, as well as dividend payments to the government of Venezuela.But they stop short of cutting off U.S. imports of Venezuelan oil that are crucial both to Venezuela's economy and U.S. oil refiners.Trump has so far spared Venezuela from broader sanctions against its vital oil industry, but officials have said such actions are under consideration.During a Latin America tour this month, Pence downplayed Trump's recent talk of a "military option" for Venezuela while repeatedly raising the specter of sanctions.David Smilde, a Tulane University sociologist who has spent decades researching Venezuela, said blanket sanctions that immediately cut off the government's cash flow and hurt the population are likely to strengthen Maduro in the short-term.
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