Pence urges Latin America to increase pressure on Maduro

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US vice-president says more sanctions on Venezuela coming after weekend violence

Gideon Long in Bogotá

Mike Pence, the US vice-president, urged Latin American nations on Monday to intensify their efforts to isolate Venezuela‘s president, Nicolás Maduro, and said Washington would impose further financial sanctions on Caracas within days.

Speaking in the Colombian capital Bogotá after a weekend of chaos and violence on the Venezuelan border, Mr Pence said the region’s nations should freeze the assets of state-oil company PDVSA — virtually the only source of foreign income for the Maduro regime — and transfer ownership of those assets to Juan Guaidó, head of the Venezuelan opposition and the man that Washington recognises as the country’s legitimate interim president.

Mr Pence said Latin American countries should refuse visas to Mr Maduro’s inner circle and recognise Mr Guaidó’s envoy to the Inter-American Development Bank.

“In the days ahead, the United States will announce even stronger sanctions on the regime’s corrupt financial networks,” he told a meeting of the Group of Lima — a grouping of western hemisphere nations that has led opposition to the government in Caracas.