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President Donald Trump gives a speech during the presentation of "Made in America" products at the White House in Washington, USA on Monday, July 17, 2017. EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
President Donald Trump gives a speech during the presentation of "Made in America" products at the White House in Washington, USA on Monday, July 17, 2017. EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

The United States will not stand still in front of a Venezuelan Constituent Assembly

President Donald Trump warned Monday that Washington would "take firm economic measures" in case Maduro continues with the idea of a Constituent Assembly.

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In a statement made public last Monday President Trump threatened to impose economic sanctions on Venezuela, should the Constituent Assembly that promotes Nicolás Maduro take place.

Trump made this statement a day after the Venezuelan opposition carried out an independent plebiscite where more than 7.2 million Venezuelans claimed to want a change of government, and rejected the Constituent Assembly of Maduro.

“Yesterday, the Venezuelan people again made clear that they stand for democracy, freedom, and rule of law,” Trump said. “Yet their strong and courageous actions continue to be ignored by a bad leader who dreams of becoming a dictator.”

The Venezuelan opposition has been organized for more than 100 days in street protests and has carried out a popular consultation to demonstrate in numbers that many more disapprove of Hugo Chávez's agonizing Socialist Revolution.

You can also read: “7.2 million Venezuelans shout YES”

In his statement, Trump threatened that “the United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles. If the Maduro regime imposes its Constituent Assembly on July 30, the United States will take strong and swift economic actions”.

He also reiterated the need for "free and fair elections" that could "restore a full and prosperous democracy in this country."

Hours earlier, White House spokesman Sean Spicer condemned the violence of the Maduro regime, which he called "thugs" because of violence at a polling center in Caracas during the opposition poll.

Spicer highlighted "the high turnout in the referendum" of the opposition, saying that Venezuelans have launched "an unmistakable statement that they made and delivered to their government," according to The Washington Post.

During the month of June, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explained that the Trump government was already working on a "very comprehensive list" of individuals in Venezuela to expand their sanctions for human rights violations in the country, according to Telesur.

For its part, Maduro's government has discredited the opposition's plebiscite, calling it the "internal consultation" of the party, and asserting that participation in the drill of the Constituent Assembly was "resounding" and definitive.

President Maduro reacted to the threats of US sanctions by asserting, "imperialism is threatening us that if the National Constituent Assembly is given they will block Venezuela. Block Venezuela? Venezuela is not blocked by anyone, compadre."

But if the United States decided to impose new sanctions, many of them would be directed at the state oil company, PDVSA, which would aggravate the economic and humanitarian crisis of the Caribbean country. At the same time, such sanctions would be counterproductive for the United States, a country that relies heavily on Venezuelan oil imports.

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