Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The United States warned traders against dealing in Venezuelan commodities after sanctions were placed on the South American country.
On Wednesday, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton warned bankers, brokers, traders, facilitators and businesses in a tweet to not do business in Venezuelan gold or oil, which he said is "being stolen from the Venezuelan people" by the "mafia" of President Nicolas Maduro.
"We stand ready to continue to take action," he said.
My advice to bankers, brokers, traders, facilitators, and other businesses: don’t deal in gold, oil, or other Venezuelan commodities being stolen from the Venezuelan people by the Maduro mafia. We stand ready to continue to take action.— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) January 30, 2019
Bolton then tweeted later Wednesday a photo of himself in a meeting with executives of Citgo. He said they were working "to make sure that the economic benefits of Venezuela's resources are not pilfered by Maduro and his cronies."
The warning follows Monday's announcement of sanctions against PDVSA, a move to coerce Maduro to hand over the country's leadership to National Assembly leader Juan Guaido, who was announced as interim president in mid-January.
Maduro has been steadfast against relinquishing power, having said that Venezuela is "the victim of a U.S. conspiracy."
Spoke today with Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaido to congratulate him on his historic assumption of the presidency and reinforced strong United States support for Venezuela’s fight to regain its democracy....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2019
Later Wednesday, President Donald Trump said he spoke with Guaido to congratulate him on his "historic assumption" of the presidency and to reinforce U.S. support in his leadership.
"Spoke with Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaido to congratulate him on his historic assumption of the presidency and reinforced strong United States support for Venezuela's fight to regain its democracy," the president said in a tweet.