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The Latest: Trump aims to prevent 'fire sales' in Venezuela

By The Associated Press  |  Posted May 21st, 2018 @ 3:44pm


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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on U.S. policy toward Venezuela (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says an executive order he signed Monday will prevent the Venezuelan government from conducting "fire sales" aimed at liquidating the country's assets.

Trump says, "this money belongs to the Venezuelan people."

Trump is issuing a statement after Venezuelan officials declared socialist leader Nicolas Maduro the winner of Sunday's presidential election. Maduro's challenger has questioned the legitimacy of the vote.

Trump is re-issuing his calls for Maduro's government to "restore democracy," hold free and fair elections, release political prisoners and stop using economic conditions to hurt the country's people.

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2:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump has signed an order restricting the Venezuelan government's ability to liquidate assets in the aftermath of an election that the White House is calling a "sham."

Senior administration officials are announcing new action aimed at preventing the government from selling off public assets in return for kickbacks.

It comes after Venezuelan officials declared socialist leader Nicolas Maduro the winner of Sunday's presidential election.

Maduro's leading challenger has questioned the legitimacy of the vote and called for new balloting.

The sanctions stop short of imposing crippling oil sanctions on the nation atop the world's largest crude reserves.

The White House says Trump signed an order that restricts the regime's ability to liquidate state assets "at fire-sale prices at the expense of the Venezuelan people."

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12:30 p.m.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is calling Venezuela's elections a "sham — neither free nor fair." Pence says in a statement that the "illegitimate result of this fake process" is another blow to democratic traditions in the country.

Pence says the United States "will not sit idly by as Venezuela crumbles and the misery of their brave people continues."

Venezuelan officials have declared socialist leader Nicolas Maduro the winner of Sunday's presidential election. Maduro's leading challenger has questioned the legitimacy of the vote and called for new balloting.

Pence says the Maduro government must allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela "and must allow its people to be heard."

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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