USA could ban imports of Venezuelan crude oil

Frederick Owens
February 9, 2018

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday warned that Russian Federation is already trying to interfere "in the 2018" ahead of the midterm elections, according to Fox News.

The secretary of state pointed out that the attempts to interfere in foreign elections allegedly carried out by Russian Federation must be stopped.

"I don't think that President Trump is referring to Colombia, because Colombia is not laughing at the US", President Juan Manuel Santos said at a joint news conference with Tillerson. "We can take steps, but this is something that, once they decide they are going to do it, it's very hard to pre-empt it".

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) suggested on Wednesday that remarks from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sounded like an "invitation" for Russian Federation to disrupt the 2018 midterm elections.

Tillerson, a former Exxon oil executive, was concluding a six-day visit to the Latin American and Caribbean region during which he visited Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

Oil posted the biggest decline in more than two months Wednesday as record crude production from US fields reignited worries that supplies will swamp demand.

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"It was important because I wanted to hear their views", he said.

Under Chavez, Venezuela won allies by providing cheap financing for the purchase of the country's oil, helping cash-strapped Caribbean nations and allies including Cuba and Nicaragua circumvent rising energy costs.

Analysts widely believe that any voting process will, therefore, be purely for appearance, with Maduro's United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) having already stolen numerous elections over the past decade, including the last presidential election against Justice First leader Henrique Capriles Radonski.

In recent years, Venezuela's economic crisis has only deepened, with hyperinflation following the creation of a vast black market for dollars and basic goods like food and medicine, which are in critically short supply.

Tillerson was speaking during a media briefing at Jamaica House which he jointly hosted with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, following bilateral talks between the two men.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, whose approval ratings are low amid the collapsing economy, runaway inflation and rising malnutrition in the oil-producing country, is seeking re-election in a vote that must be held by the end of April. "And we appreciate Colombia's efforts to deal with the situation of so many Venezuelans seeking refuge here in Colombia as the situation in Venezuela continues to deteriorate". "We were prepared to undertake retaliatory steps, and quite serious ones too, which would cut our relations to zero", he said. "If you don't, you're going to just continue to invite consequences for yourself", said Tillerson.

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