Published On: Wed, Sep 25th, 2019

Venezuela news: Trump ramps up pressure on Maduro as Putin tightens grip on Venezuela | World | News

It was announced that $52million – £41million – in aid will be sent to Caracas, with around a third of that figure diverted to training Guaido’s team in preparation for governance should they successfully oust Maduro.

The figure dwarfs last year’s aid budget of just $15million – £12million – and the announcement came just hours after Trump lambasted Maduro.

Trump called the Venezuelan dictator a “Cuban puppet” who is “hiding from his own people while Cubans plunder Venezuela’s oil wealth to sustain its own corrupt communist rule”.

He added: “According to a recent report by the United Nation Human Rights Council, women in Venezuela stand in line for 10 hours every day waiting for food, over 15,000 people have been detained as political prisoners, modern-day death squads are carrying out thousands of extrajudicial killings.”

The Trump administration tightened oil sanctions on the South American country on Tuesday, designating four oil companies that continue to operate in Venezuela for penalties.

The US government has been persistently pressuring Maduro to stand down via tough sanctions and threats of military intervention.

Trump also refused to recognise his presidency and instead backed leader of the Citizens Assembly Juan Guaido as the President earlier this year.

However, Maduro has been backed by allies of his own, with Russia and China propping up his administration with generous loans and huge weapons exchanges attempting to deter the US from interference.

It comes after Crisis Group’s Venezuela analyst Phil Gunson told that Vladimir Putin is using the troubled state as a fulcrum for influence in the Western hemisphere.

He said: “Compared with China, Russia are a more opportunistic partner.

“Russia made profit from the weapon loans, Venezuela is a good place for shady characters to operate.

“There is also this geopolitical point of view for Putin, it’s very clear that Putin likes the idea of having a presence in the Western hemisphere.

READ MORE:Putin’s new Cuba: How Trump lost control in Venezuela and gave Mosc…

Duque compared Maduro to a Serbian war criminal and has called out the Venezuelan government for allegedly breaking a Security Council resolution that was formed after the 9/11 attacks in New York, by offering refuge to rebels in Venezuela who broke a peace process and took arms against Colombia.

The Venezuelan president has repeatedly denied those accusations, and levies similar charges against Duque, accusing him of failing to act against illegal armed groups plotting attacks against his government from Colombia.

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