Pence to offer 'carrots' to Venezuela military, warnings to judges


The vice president also said the US would immediately lift sanctions on Gen. Manuel Figuera, the head of the feared SEBIN intelligence agency, who broke ranks with the Maduro government during a failed uprising last week and has since disappeared.

The worldwide Contact Group on Venezuela, which met in Costa Rica's capital San Jose on Tuesday, announced it would send a high-level mission to the crisis-wracked country to monitor humanitarian aid distribution and encourage dialogue.

The situation in Venezuela remains tense since January when Guaido illegally proclaimed himself an interim president. It's good to know that important allies like the U.S. are also evaluating the option.

"What comes now? A trial", said the assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello, the regime's second most powerful figure after President Nicolas Maduro.

The Constituent Assembly said it would suspend the immunity of any politicians who backed the April 30 uprising, which set off two days of violent clashes between security forces and protesters, killing five people.

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He rejected suggestions that his opposition movement was flatlining, however.

Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan has declined to discuss in detail the military options that the Pentagon has considered for Venezuela.

In response to the Trump administration's stance, U.S. Representative Darren Soto, a Democrat, is expressing support for "a wide range of actions, including incentives to encourage the Venezuelan military to rise up against the tyrannical Maduro regime".

In a new interview with CBS news, US-backed Guaidó weighed in on whether he thinks the U.S. should intervene militarily.

Russian Federation has had deep military cooperation with Venezuela over the years, including supplying weapons and aircraft.

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Foreign banks froze Venezuela's accounts and money transfers. Asked about military intervention, he said only that it was a "controversial option".

Maduro had accused Cristopher, whose whereabouts are unknown, of conspiring to help Guaido's uprising by releasing opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who was under a house arrest enforced by Sebin.

Pence will also offer assistance for refugees who have fled the country, and an economic aid package contingent on a political transition, according to the official.

"In recognition of his recent actions in support of democracy and the rule of law, I am announcing today that the United States of America is removing all sanctions on Manuel Cristopher Figuera, effective immediately", Pence said.

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