What's at stake in Venezuelan presidential vote

  • What's at stake in Venezuelan presidential vote

What's at stake in Venezuelan presidential vote

Venezuelans will choose their next president on Sunday while people suffer amid an economic crisis that President Nicolas Maduro has vowed to end.


The Trump administration has slapped sanctions on Venezuelan socialist party boss Diosdado Cabello, accusing him of drug trafficking and heading a major corruption network that siphoned off funds from state-run companies to accounts in Russian Federation and other countries. The US apparently hopes that additional sanctions will eventually bring about democracy in the South American country, which is suffering from declining oil production, hyperinflation and food shortages.

"As of March 2017, Cabello seized drug loads from small-scale drug traffickers, and combined and exported them through a Venezuelan government-owned airport", the U.S. Treasury said in a statement.

With associates, Cabello is accused of illegally extracting and exporting iron from a state-run conglomerate and laundering the proceeds to Costa Rica and Russian Federation.

"Through trustworthy intelligence sources we have knowledge of a plan by the Maduro regime, in progress since the end of previous year, to give identifications to Colombian citizens and transport them to vote in the May 20 elections", Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said in a televised address.

What's at stake in Venezuelan presidential vote

Venezuela's Information Ministry, which handles media requests for the government, did not respond to a request for comment.

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said it had imposed sanctions on Diosdado Cabello Rondon, Jose David Cabello Rondon, Marleny Josefina Contreras Hernandez and Rafael Alfredo Sarria Diaz.

Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Robert Menendez in January called on the Justice Department to investigate allegations of drug trafficking by senior officials in Maduro's government.

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