Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that the U.S. is preparing a “series of actions” against Venezuela’s leaders to increase pressure on the government.
“You’ll see in the coming days a series of actions that continue to increase the pressure level against the Venezuelan leadership folks, who are working directly against the best interest of the Venezuelan people,” Pompeo said. “We’re determined to ensure that the Venezuelan people get their say.”
Pompeo gave no details on what those actions might be.
Last year, Washington imposed sanctions prohibiting trading new debt and equity issued by the Venezuelan government and its state oil company PDVSA. It has imposed several rounds of sanctions on government officials, including on Maduro.
Venezuela’s economy has collapsed under Maduro, with annual inflation running at 200,000 percent, and staple foods and basic medicine increasingly difficult to obtain, which has led to mass emigration.
Pompeo’s warning comes ahead of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York next week attended by heads of state from around the world. Maduro has not attended the meetings since 2015 and this week said he may not attend the gathering because of concerns about his safety.
Maduro recently survived an assassination attempt and has understandably become cautious. There’s also the possibility that some clique might take advantage of Maduro being out of the country and attempt to replace him.
The Trump administration has been steadily increasing the pressure on President Nicolas Maduro and his regime cronies. While military action can be ruled out at this point, the goal appears to be to try to divide the Venezuelan leadership by sanctioning some officials and not others.
Just recently, it was revealed that U.S. officials met with a few Venezuelan coup plotters from the ranks of the military, but declined to assist them. Any effort to foment discord in the ranks of the leadership would be welcome as Maduro continues to drive his nation’s economy into the ground.