Thursday May 23, 2019
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Juan Guaido Contacts US Military To Pressurize Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro To Step Down

The U.S. and some 50 other countries support Guaido, who declared himself interim president in January on the claim that Maduro's 2018 re-election was illegitimate.

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Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim ruler, leaves after a rally in support of the Venezuelan National Assembly and against the government of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, May 11, 2019. VOA

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido told his supporters Saturday at a rally in Caracas that he had instructed his ambassador to the U.S. to contact the U.S. military to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to step down from his post.

Guaido spoke to demonstrating crowds in the Alfredo Sadel Plaza in Las Mercedes, a commercial district in Caracas.

He spoke a day after a Venezuelan court ordered Edgar Zambrano, vice president of Guaido’s opposition-controlled National Assembly, to be held at a military facility. Zambrano,who was arrested earlier in the week, and nine other opposition leaders are under investigation in connection with a failed military insurrection.

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The Treasury Department said the vessels delivered oil to Cuba from late 2018 through March. Pixabay

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for Zambrano’s immediate release, saying his arrest “is an attack on the independence of the nation’s democratically elected legislative branch.”

Shippers sanctioned

Meanwhile, the United States has placed sanctions on two shipping companies for transporting Venezuelan oil to Cuba.

The U.S. Treasury Department said Friday that it had targeted Marshall Islands-based Monsoon Navigation Corp. and Serenity Maritime Ltd., headquartered in Liberia.

The agency said the companies owned ships that were involved in oil transfers to Cuba, which the U.S. has accused of providing military support to Maduro.

The Treasury Department said the vessels delivered oil to Cuba from late 2018 through March.

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The U.S. and some 50 other countries support Guaido, who declared himself interim president in January on the claim that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate.

Maduro has called Guaido a puppet of the U.S. Maduro has held on to power with the support of Cuba, Russia and China. (VOA)

Next Story

Trade Deal May Be ‘Far Worse’ After 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump Warns China

While supporters laud Trump as a tough negotiator, free-trade-minded Republicans have warned that the tariffs could do real damage to the economy, and many farmers, including Trump supporters, say the tariffs have hit their bottom line.

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The Yang Ming shipping line container ship Ym Utmost is unloaded at the Port of Oakland, July 2, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. VOA

President Donald Trump warned China Saturday that it should strike a trade deal with the United States now, otherwise an agreement would be “far worse for them if it has to be negotiated in my second term.”

Washington and Beijing are locked in a trade battle that has seen mounting tariffs, sparking fears the dispute will damage the global economy.

Two days of talks ended Friday with no deal. China’s top negotiator said the two sides would meet again in Beijing at an unspecified date, but warned that China would make no concessions on “important principles.”

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Only a week earlier, the United States and China had seemed poised to complete a sweeping agreement. VOA

Accusations and higher tariffs

Trump had accused Beijing of reneging on its commitments in trade talks and ordered new punitive duties, which took effect Friday, on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, raising them to 25 percent from 10 percent.

He then cranked up the heat further, ordering a tariff hike on almost all remaining imports — $300 billion worth, according to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer — from the world’s second-biggest economy.

Those tariffs would not take effect for months, after a period of public comment.

Trump also said Saturday that firms could easily avoid additional costs by producing goods in the United States.

“Such an easy way to avoid Tariffs? Make or produce your goods and products in the good old USA. It’s very simple!” he tweeted, echoing a similar message he sent Friday, and even retweeted.

Poised for a deal

Only a week earlier, the United States and China had seemed poised to complete a sweeping agreement.

Washington wants Beijing to tighten its intellectual property protections, cut its subsidies to state-owned firms and reduce the yawning trade deficit; China wants an end to tariffs as part of a “balanced” deal.

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Trump also said Saturday that firms could easily avoid additional costs by producing goods in the United States. VOA

While supporters laud Trump as a tough negotiator, free-trade-minded Republicans have warned that the tariffs could do real damage to the economy, and many farmers, including Trump supporters, say the tariffs have hit their bottom line.

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As the trade war spread, China imposed $110 billion in duties on farm exports and other US goods.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, from the farm state of Iowa, cautiously welcomed the new tariffs but urged negotiators to reach a quick solution “so we can avoid prolonged tariffs, which we know have an impact on the US economy.” (VOA)