The Latest: Brazil wants non-military pressure on Venezuela

February 25, 2019 - 1:28 pm

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The Latest on Venezuela's political crisis (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

Brazil's vice president says his nation will maintain its strategy of avoiding military intervention when it comes to neighboring Venezuela.

Monday's tweet by Vice President Hamilton Mourao came as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met with regional leaders about Venezuela and said that "all options are on the table."

Mourao said Brazilian officials "believe in diplomatic and international economic pressure."

Pence, Mourao and several other top leaders were in the Colombian capital of Bogota for a meeting of the so-called "Lima Group."

The group is a 14-nation coalition of mostly conservative Latin American nations and Canada that has joined together to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to leave power.

The meeting comes two days after a U.S.-backed effort to deliver humanitarian across the border from Colombia and Brazil ended in violence.


12:30 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says the United States is sending another $56 million to neighbors of Venezuela to help them cope with migrants fleeing that nation's deepening crisis.

Pence said Monday that the United States has already provided more than $139 million in aid to help Venezuela.

He spoke in Colombia's capital at a meeting of The Lima Group, a coalition of mostly Latin American nations formed to address Venezuela's turmoil.

Pence also met with opposition congressional leader Juan Guaido, who has declared presidential powers, arguing that the re-election of socialist President Nicolas Maduro was invalid.

Pence said the U.S. has sent five military transport planes with 400 tons of food and medicine to Colombia and Brazil.

Deadly clashes erupted over the weekend when Maduro refused to allow the aid cross, calling it part of a U.S.-led coup.


12:05 p.m.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is asking a coalition of mostly Latin American nations to freeze assets of Venezuela's state oil company following a weekend of violent clashes over blocked humanitarian aid.

Pence met in Colombia's capital on Monday with regional leaders in the Lima Group after President Nicolas Maduro's security forces blocked U.S. aid from crossing Venezuela's borders.

At least four protesters died while more than 300 were injured in nationwide clashes.

Pence called on regional leaders to freeze PDVSA assets — a measure taken earlier by the U.S.

He repeated President Trump's threat that "all options are on the table" to push out Maduro, whose re-election the United States and dozens of other countries consider invalid.

Pence says the U.S. is also slapping financial sanctions on officials loyal to Maduro who blocked emergency aid and another in his inner circle.


11:50 a.m.

The United States is imposing new sanctions against allies of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

The Treasury Department on Monday announced the measures against four governors: Omar Prieto of Zulia, Ramon Carrizales of Apure, Jorge Garcia Carneiro of Vargas and Rafael Lacava of Carabobo state.

The move blocks them from financial or commercial transactions with U.S. citizens or entities.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said they had blocked humanitarian aid shipments backed by the United States and opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized by some 50 nations as Venezuela's legitimate leader.


11:45 a.m.

Germany is calling for greater pressure against the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro to bring about fresh elections.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said Monday that Germany believes "the pressure on Maduro needs to be increased so as to move in the direction of free, fair and democratic presidential elections."

Adebahr said Germany is consulting with fellow European countries, but would seek to have additional EU sanctions target those close to Maduro "and of course not worsen the dramatic hardship experienced by the citizens of Venezuela."

Government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer condemned violence at points on the Venezuelan border where opposition figures have been trying to bring in aid shipments.

Demmer said Germany was particularly concerned by "the apparent deployment of militias and groups of thugs to intimidate the population.


10:30 am.

The United States is planning new ways to pressure Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to give up power and to provide assistance to the people of the economically devastated South American nation.

Vice President Mike Pence arrived in the Colombian capital on Monday and immediately met with Colombian President Ivan Duque. He'll also meet with members of a regional coalition and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to discuss the next steps aimed at ousting Maduro.

Pence's appearance before the Lima Group comes two days after a U.S.-backed effort to deliver humanitarian across the border from Colombia ended in violence.

Forces loyal to Maduro fired tear gas and buckshot on activists accompanying the supplies and setting the material on fire. Four people have been reported killed and at least 300 wounded.

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