Venezuela’s chief prosecutor has asked the Supreme Court to bring an asset freeze as well as a prohibition to leave the country for interim president Juan Guaido. The request later saw a response from the US government, which said that there would be serious consequences if something happened to Guaido.
Tareek Saab said during a news conference that they had requested preventive measures against Guaido, who announced his decision to become interim president on January 23.
Guaido responded to the request by saying it was nothing new by the government. The interim president has made several announcements in the last few days and has reassured that everything will continue until Maduro and his people are gone.
The US, UK, Canada, Chile, Colombia and several other countries have announced their support for the interim president. The very first was the US, who made it clear through a tweet by President Donald Trump that Mr. Guaido was the new president.
Maduro and other government officials insist that he is not the real leader. Many government officials recognize Maduro as the president of Venezuela since he won a presidential election last year. The presidential election brought accusations of fraud since the numbers did not match estimates from other organizations. The election also saw the participation of smaller candidates who decided to step away from the opposition to compete. During the election, images and videos showed voting centers empty.
The request from the chief prosecutor comes a day after the US announced new sanctions against PDVSA and the government. The new sanctions freeze $7 billion in assets and block another $11 billion in revenue. The $11 billion is money that the South American nation would receive through the oil sales of Citgo.
The move is seen as a way to stop the Venezuelan government from getting its hands on more money to continue buying support. The US government has said that the money will go to a fund controlled by Guaido.
The US government had previously sanctioned the Venezuelan government but yesterday’s sanctions are said to be the toughest so far. The Venezuelan government has accused the US of trying to spark a coup.
The sanctions will heavily affect the government but also the population, according to experts. The South American nation depends mostly on its oil and the sanctions freeze billions of dollars. The Venezuelan government is responsible for a high percentage of food and medicine imports.
The situation in the country has sparked several protests in recent days. The protests began shortly before Guaido stepped in as interim president. The first protest came after a group of national guards decided to steal weapons and call for a change. The group was arrested hours later but the protests continued in areas such as Cotiza.
The protests have left more than 30 people dead and many more injured. The situation has cooled down in the capital and other places but the pressure against the government continues. The European Union has already called for elections while the US has made it clear that there will be consequences if Maduro and his officials takes action against the interim president.
Maduro broke diplomatic relations with the US a few days back. Embassy staff were given 72 hours but the order was blocked by Guaido. It was later announced by officials that it had been extended for 30 days.