Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Venezuelan 'Authorities' Launch Investigation Into Guaido, Bolton Warns Again Of 'Serious Consequences'

Venezuelan Supreme Court Bans Guaido From Leaving Country

According to media reports, the Venezuelan Supreme Court also blocked all of the self-proclaimed interim president's bank accounts and financial transactions within the country's jurisdiction on Tuesday.

Venezuelan authorities have launched a preliminary investigation into the activities of the country's opposition leader Juan Guaido, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing a statement by the Venezuelan Supreme Court's president. In particular, the court's ruling imposes a travel ban on Guaido until the completion of the investigation.

"The Supreme Court in its decision from January 29 ruled to take the following precautionary measures against Juan Gerardo Guaido Marquez: prohibition of leaving the country without an authorization until the investigation is completed; prohibition of alienation and pledge of property; blocking of bank accounts and/or any other financial instrument on the Venezuelan territory", Court President Maikel Moreno said on Twitter.

Earlier this week, Venezuelan Prosecutor General Tarek Saab asked the Supreme Tribunal of Justice to introduce these preventive measures against Guaido, who is the head of the National Assembly. US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that the United States condemns Venezuelan prosecutors for threatening Guaido, and he warned of "serious consequences for those who attempt to subvert democracy and harm Guaido".

Meanwhile, the US Department of State has granted Guaido the authority to take control of certain Venezuelan government assets. State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino emphasized on Tuesday that the certification would allow Venezuela's opposition leader to "safeguard" government assets for the benefit of the people of Venezuela.

The situation in Venezuela, which has been struggling to overcome a political crisis amid the opposition's refusal to recognize last year’s re-election of President Nicolas Maduro, significantly escalated on Tuesday when the opposition-controlled National Assembly declared the president a usurper.
The very next day, Guaido proclaimed himself as Venezuelan interim president. In turn, Maduro accused Washington of attempting to organize a coup in Venezuela, declaring the decision to cut off diplomatic relations with the country.
Bolton announced Monday that the Trump administration was imposing sanctions against Venezuelan state-run oil giant PDVSA, adding that it will block $7 billion in PDVSA's assets. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that by blocking PDVSA assets, the United States is taking care of the company in the interests of the people of Venezuela and also taking measures to protect its own market.

In turn, Caracas has slammed the newly introduced restrictions against the country's energy sector as evidence of preparations for the coup attempt in Venezuela, vowing to take measures to protect its property, including by filing lawsuits in US courts.
The US treasury secretary has said PDVSA could be relieved from US sanctions if it commits to the expeditious transfer of control to Guaido.

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