If Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro doesn't qualify quite yet for the title of dictator, he's pretty close and has been already given that sobriquet by President Donald Trump, who only seems to mince words when he speaks about Russian Federation.
Trump's administration called Maduro a "dictator" and followed up this week with more sanctions against several members of the new Constituent Assembly.
The newly-established Constitutional Assembly of Venezuela announced itself superior to all other governmental institutions, including the opposition-controlled congress.
"To all the presidents, I call on them to approve a meeting and through mutual dialogue, we can find a solution", said Maduro. The government in Caracas did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump's threat.
"This is the worst possible approach to take with an already volatile situation in Venezuela", said Ben Rhodes who was U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser under President Barack Obama.
Trump said Venezuela's political crisis was among the topics discussed at the talks he hosted in New Jersey on Friday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
"China is looking to protect long-term access to Venezuela's oil reserves, small countries in the Caribbean and Central America are hedging their bets and avoiding the messiness of confrontation".
The all-powerful government-organized assembly rewriting the constitution is slated to meet again Thursday.
The former student activist had been one of the most prominent leaders of four months of anti-government protests that have left at least 124 people dead and hundreds more injured or jailed. "It's hard to imagine a more damaging thing for Trump to say".
The United Nations Security Council was briefed behind closed doors on Venezuela in May at the request of the United States.
Sanctions could expand the interests of Cuba, China and Russian Federation in Venezuela's oil business.
Maduro has reiterated that the assembly held supreme powers over all the three branches of the government.
Venezuela is in the midst of a severe economic downturn caused by low oil prices and government policies that have scared away private investment.
All this served as the backdrop for the reconvening of the National Constituent Assembly on Wednesday, Aug 9, where the topic of discussion was one of paramount importance: the struggle to diversify, strengthen, and address the character of Venezuela's economy in the face of the economic war waged by the national and global forces of austerity, neoliberalism and counter-revolution.
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