Venezuelans prepare for potential U.S. 'military option' against Maduro

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After President Donald Trump restricted the ability of the cash-strapped Venezuelan government to access USA debt markets to get funding, there were passionate reactions Friday in Caracas, Havana and Miami.

Maduro has used Trump's remarks to reinforce support for his government, which has witnessed record- low approval ratings amid an ongoing political and economic crisis. The U.S. Treasury Secretary Seven Mnuchin said Trump's order was focused on new securities by making it illegal for U.S. financial institutions to trade new bonds with the Venezuelan government. But after the USA issued sanctions against the country last week, cutting off much of the regime's finances, officials are claiming they no longer have a way to pay for food and medicine at all. Trump said earlier this month that he would not rule out a "military option" in Venezuela.

Valderrama said he was there to learn "to defend my country and my family".

Critics call the assembly's creation a blatant, authoritarian power grab, while Maduro allies argue it offers a way out of the country's political and economic crisis.

But tension surged again when the White House on Friday unveiled its first-ever sanctions to target Venezuela as a whole, rather than just Maduro and his inner circle.

The opposition has repeatedly called on the army to abandon Maduro - so far to no avail.

She said they aimed to discourage "any disloyalty in the ranks of the FANB, which is a worry for the intelligence services", and "to reinforce the anti-imperialist line".

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That could choke off access to NY debt markets and substantially raise the likelihood of Venezuela being forced into default.

On Thursday, the president warned the armed forces not to break ranks. They ban trading in two bonds the government recently issued to circumvent its increasing isolation from Western financial markets.

"Never before has Venezuela been threatened in such a way".

Ever since Maduro announced there would be a Constituent National Assembly, countries from around the world - especially from the Americas - raised their voices to reject such actions as they consider them to be unconstitutional and bad for Venezuela's - already weak - democracy and division of power.

However, nothing stopped Maduro from letting the new assembly install as he considered this new body to be Venezuela's only hope of restoring peace after months of protests.

American lawmakers have called it a big problem for United States national security and sent a warning letter to President Donald Trump.

The three former heads of state criticized the financial sanctions imposed by the United States and the proposal of a military intervention to solve the Venezuelan crisis.