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Exclusive: Trump eyeing intensified Venezuela sanctions for foreign companies – Bolton



WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump is considering imposing sanctions on companies from other countries dealing with Venezuela to cut revenue for President Nicolas Maduro, Trump's national security advisor John Bolton told Reuters TV on Friday.

"We are moving in that direction exactly," Bolton said, asking if Trump would consider what is known as "secondary sanctions."

"We even now see a number of additional steps we could take," said Bolton in the interview

The United States and most other Western countries have cast their support behind the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who invoked the constitution of January to declare his interim president, claiming that Maduro's re-election in 201

8 was illegal.

Oil gives 90 percent of the export revenue for OPEC member Venezuela. The US imposed sanctions in Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA in January, failing to treat US companies unless revenue went to a fund available to Guaido.

Trump administration has not yet sanctioned companies from other countries dealing with PDVSA – but US officials have had "talks" with oil trading houses and governments around the world to convince them to cut their relations with Maduro, Said Trump's Venezuela Envoy Elliott Abrams earlier Friday.

MONROE DOCTRINE

Russia and China support Maduro, who has said Guaido is a puppet of Washington. Maduro retains control over state functions and the country's military loyalty.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks during an interview at the White House in Washington, USA, on March 29, 2019. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

Bolton said he was not worried about pushing to shed Maduro's lost speed.

"I can tell you that is happening much under the surface. The opposition is in constant contact with a large number of admirals and other supporters in the Maduro administration," Bolton said.

"It is a struggle against an authoritarian government and it will of course take some time," he said.

Trump looks at opportunities – including sanctions – to respond to Russia's growing military presence in Venezuela, Bolton said. Two Russian air forces with nearly 100 military personnel landed outside Caracas on Saturday.

"We are not afraid to use the term" Monroe doctrine "in this administration," Bolton said, referring to the 1823 policy created by then, President James Monroe, widely seen in Latin America as a justification for US armed intervention in the region.

"And one of the purposes of the Monroe doctrine was to prevent foreign interference and even recolonization," Bolton said.

"If you look at Cuban and Russian forces in Venezuela, ask, when will the people of Venezuela choose their government rather than foreigners?" He said.

Venezuela's economic crisis, which has caused food and medicine shortages, has pushed millions of people to flee the country.

Slideshow (4 Images)

Trump is considering providing temporary protection against expulsion to the more than 70,000 Venezuelans believed to be in the United States, but will first focus on ensuring that there is a transition in the government of the country, said Bolton.

"We want to make sure that people are not put in a difficult position if they oppose the Maduro regime. On the other hand, many Maduro regime families in this country wanted out of Venezuela to be sure, "Bolton said.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton, Editing by Rosalba O & # 39; Brien and Tom Brown

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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