The United States imposed new sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's wife and several of his top allies on Tuesday as US President Donald Trump urged members of the United Nations to support a "restoration of democracy" in the once-booming OPEC nation.
On Tuesday, the Treasury Department announced new sanctions against Cilia Adela Flores de Maduro, the former attorney general and president of the National Assembly.
"Today we're stronger than ever", a buoyant Maduro said in a video broadcast from the presidential jet as he and first lady Cilia Flores, who was just hit by USA sanctions, arrived from Caracas.
It appeared unlikely, however, that Maduro would cross paths with Trump, despite the USA president's comments earlier in the day that he was willing to meet with his Venezuelan counterpart if it would help ease suffering in the South American nation.
But until now it had spared key leaders like Delcy Rodriguez, as well as the US -trained Padrino, believing they occupy seats of power and could play a key role in an eventual transition.
David Smilde, a Tulane University professor who has spent more than two decades living and working in Venezuela, said Tuesday's actions would seem to suggest the USA has given up trying to sow division within the government in the hopes it could force a democratic transition from within.
Trudeau steered clear of direct criticism of Trump and said Canada and the US share concern about the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. "If everyone is sanctioned then it could end up uniting the government". In May, after Maduro won an election which American officials called a sham, the United States issued a broad set of financial sanctions which effectively blocked Venezuela from access to credit markets. "... If he's here, if he wants to meet, I don't know".
Beyond rallying Maduro's opponents, it's unclear what impact the sanctions will have.
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So, he tries to continue with a grin, adding, "So true". "We need a President who isn't a laughing stock to the entire World". Only under the guise of foreign interference do the American people feel that they need someone like Trump.
His desire for some sort of reconciliation with the US has increased as worldwide pressure has been building on his socialist government at a time of hyperinflation and widespread food and medicine shortages.
Those hit with sanctions will have any assets or property in the United States seized - including a Gulfstream 200 private jet located in Florida and owned by Rafael Sarria Diaz, named as a front man - and USA institutions are prohibited from doing business with them.
Countries with socialist regimes such as China, Vietnam, Chile and many in Europe have managed to successfully grow their economies as Venezuela's has tumbled.
This year, 133 world leaders have signed up to attend this year's assembly session, which ends October 1, a significant increase from the 114 leaders last year.
Cutz spoke publicly Monday at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington for the first time since leaving government. "Every option is on the table with respect to Venezuela".
The move comes just over a year after President Nicolás Maduro had his assets frozen by the United States government.
"Donald Trump said he was anxious about Venezuela, he wanted to help Venezuela", Maduro said.
As the leaders try to end conflicts in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere at this U.N. General Assembly running through October 1, America's go-it-alone attitude and growing divisions among key world powers risk eroding the U.N.'s ability to bring positive change.