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US announces more sanctions on Venezuela

The Trump administration on Friday announced additional sanctions for Venezuela in response to what it described as the illegal arrest of  opposition leader Juan Guaido's chief of staff.
 
The Treasury Department announcement came while the President Donald Trump met with Prime Minister Andrew Holness and leaders from four other Caribbean nations, where Venezuela was at the top of the agenda. 
 
The region has been far from united in joining the US call for the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro.
 
The Treasury Department is specifically targeting Venezuela's national development bank, BANDES, and four additional subsidiaries that BANDES owns or controls.
 
The US had 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. 
 
In addition to Prime Andrew Holness, President Trump is hosting the leaders of Bahamas, Haiti, Dominican Republic and St. Lucia at his Mar-a-Lago club to show his support for Caribbean countries that back democratic transition in Venezuela. 
 
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Mr. Trump will use the meeting to thank the leaders for their support for peace and democracy in Venezuela and discuss potential opportunities for energy investment.
 
The five have either denounced Maduro or joined more than 50 countries in recognising Juan Guaido as the rightful interim leader of  the nation.
 
The Trump administration considers Maduro's government a dictatorship and says he was re-elected in an illegitimate election. 
 
The country is in an economic meltdown and millions of Venezuelans have fled.
 


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