While the USA has provided foreign aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the crises plaguing these three nations have deep roots in of Washington-sponsored attempts to eradicate left-wing and socialist movements across Latin America.
Maduro is however backed by the country's powerful military, as well as the regimes in Russian Federation and China that provide financial support. He did not know where the gold might be heading or the nature of the transaction.
Vice President Delcy Rodríguez: "All masks have been removed, from Donald Trump, president of the United States; from his vice president, the dislocated Mike Pence; from the national security adviser, John Bolton".
Twenty tons is a lot of gold bars - nearly 1,600 of them. Bloomberg cited the source on Thursday as saying that the gold - nearly 1,600 bars representing about 10 percent of all the bank's foreign reserves - were weighed and separated for shipment.
Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido pauses as he speaks during an interview with Reuters in Caracas, Venezuela January 31, 2019.More news: Decisive Hours For Inter Winger Perisic & Inter Target Carrasco
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The opposition seeks to usher in a transition by holding democratic elections, Guaido said in the letter to Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez and Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Guaido was recognized as Venezuela's legitimate president by the U.S., Canada, the European Union and a host of South American countries, all of them insisting on new elections.
In recent days journalists from at least three foreign publications have been detained.
Venezuela is now going through a political crisis, with Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled Venezuelan National Assembly, having declared himself the country's interim president on 23 January. The latest measures posted on the U.S. Treasury's website suggest the sanctions could have an even wider impact on the petroleum exports that constitute the nation's economic lifeline.
U.S. officials imposed sanctions on state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, this week, a move Maduro has called illegal.
And last week, the Bank of England denied Maduro officials' request to withdraw US$1.2 billion of gold stored there after top USA officials, including Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, lobbied their United Kingdom counterparts to cut off the regime from its overseas holdings.
"The English stole the gold in the Bank of England", Diosdado Cabello, the powerful No. 2 in Maduro's socialist party, said in a speech broadcast on state television this week.