U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to urge regional leaders to work together to further isolate the Maduro regime over its human rights violations and authoritarianism at the Eighth Summit of the Americas, which is taking place in Lima, Peru today and tomorrow.

Pence–who is in Peru in lieu of Trump–is scheduled to meet with the presidents of Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Argentina, among others.

According to the Voz de America, Pence is “expected to ask his regional partners to continue to isolate the Venezuelan government”.

Earlier today, U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) Carlos Trujillo told reporters upon his arrival in Lima that Washington believes that the May 20 presidential election has been rigged, and called on the rest of the region to not recognize the vote. Trujillo said:

It is a lie that [the May 20 election] is democratic… neither the government of Nicolas Maduro nor the elections are recognized by the United States, and they shouldn’t be by the rest of Latin America.

On the matter of international pressure, Trujillo said that he hoped that more countries would take the initiative to levy more sanctions “not only against Maduro, but also against other people in his regime who violate human rights”.

Pence Promises $16 Million in Aid For Venezuelan Migrants

After meeting with members of the Venezuelan opposition, Pence announced that Washington would set aside $16 million to help Venezuelan migrants in South America. The money will be used to purchase drinking water and shelter for migrants in Colombia and Brazil.

The meeting involved National Assembly deputy Julio Borges, who has been out of the country over the past several weeks drumming up support for the opposition around the world. Also present were exiled opposition leaders Carlos Vecchio, Antonio Ledezma and David Smolansky.

Below, an image from the meeting (From left to right: Carlos Vecchio, Julio Borges, Mike Pence, David Smolansky, and Antonio Ledezma):

Maduro Adds 50 Companies to Panama Sanction List

The Maduro regime announced yesterday that an additional 50 Panamanian companies have been added to a list of sanctioned entities from the Central American nation, bringing the total to 106. The first round of sanctions against Panamanian companies came on April 5, and targeted 46 entities.

The regime’s announcement is the latest escalation in a face-off between the two nations. Tensions began to rise on March 30, when the Panamanian government issued a statement warning its financial sector to exercise caution when conducting business with regime officials–including heavy-hitters like Maduro and Diosdado Cabello–given the probability that they are involved in illegal financial activities like money laundering.

The Maduro regime reacted to that announcement on April 5 by sanctioning 46 Panamanian companies and 22 nationals, prohibiting them from conducting business in Venezuela for at least 90 days. The April 5 sanctions included Copa Airlines, one of the few carriers that still offered service to Venezuela.

According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, these latest sanctions constitute an attempt by the regime to “protect” Venezuela from “crimes like organized crime”, which it claims

Venezuelan Oil Production Continues to Plummet

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) Monthly Oil Market Report for March shows that Venezuelan oil production is continuing its long-standing free-fall, shedding an average of 55.3 thousand barrels of oil per day during the month in comparison to February. The figures signal a drop in production of 3.56% between February and March.

The anemic March figures also deepen Venezuela’s oil drop for the year. In the first three months of 2018, the Venezuela lost a total of 159 thousand barrels of oil per day, a 7% decrease from the start of the year.

Mismanagement, lack of investment and rampant corruption have turned the state-owned PDVSA oil company into a rapidly sinking ship.

David Moran, an industrial engineer writing for La Patilla, estimates that the drop in oil production has cost Venezuela $22.5 billion dollars in income over the last 39 months alone.

March’s production figures–1.488 million barrels of oil per day–is a little over half of what PDVSA pumped out in March of 2015.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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