Venezuelan officials ban Juan Guaido from leaving the country

By Sommer Brokaw and Daniel Uria
Venezuelan officials ban Juan Guaido from leaving the country
The State Department issued a travel advisory warning U.S. citizens not to travel to Venezuela on the heels of U.S. sanctions against the Venezuela state-owned oil company a day earlier and the U.S. government recently recognizing Venezuelan National Assembly chief Juan Guaido (C), as the country's president. Photo by Leonardo Munoz/EPA-EFE

Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Venezuela's supreme court ruled to ban self-declared interim president Juan Guaido from leaving the country and freeze his assets Tuesday.

The limitations placed on Guaido were requested by President Nicolas Maduro's chief prosecutor Tarek Saab as a preventative measure related to an investigation into the leader of the country's National Assembly's claim to the presidency, the Washington Post reported.


"We request these preventive measures against Guaidó while we compile elements to stop the events that since Jan. 22 have broken the peace of the Republic," Saab said.

Guaido said the limitations were "nothing new under the sun" and came from "a regime that doesn't give answers to Venezuelans" and whose "only answer is persecution and repression" as he addressed the National Assembly after the announcement.

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"The world is clear on what's happening in Venezuela," he said. "Let's not desist because of threats and persecution."

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton denounced the "threat" against Guaido and warned against harming the U.S.-backed leader.

"Let me reiterate -- there will be serious consequences for those who attempt to subvert democracy and harm Guaido," he wrote on Twitter.

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The U.S. State Department also issued a warning advising against travel to Venezuela on Tuesday, a day after the United States announced sanctions against the country's state-owned oil company.

The advisory cites, crime, civil unrest, and arbitrary the arrest and detention of U.S. citizens. It is a Level 4 advisory, the highest of four levels of precaution.

On Monday, the U.S. Treasury announced new sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil company as a rebuke against the legitimacy of Maduro, amid rising violence in the country.

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Last week, President Donald Trump said the United States no longer recognizes Maduro as Venezuela's president and instead recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president.

Last Thursday, State Department ordered the departure of non-emergency embassy employees and their family members from Venezuela due to ongoing political instability.

"The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Venezuela," the travel advisory states. "Violent crime, such as homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking, is common. Political rallies and demonstrations occur, often with little notice. Demonstrations typically elicit a strong police and security force response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons, and rubber bullets against participants and occasionally devolve into looting and vandalism."


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a notice to avoid nonessential travel to Venezuela seven months ago, due to inadequate healthcare and the breakdown of medical infrastructure.

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