Venezuela oil minister, PDVSA head to switch roles, Maduro says

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President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order to impose new financial sanctions on the Venezuelan government, which his administration considers a "dictatorship".

The move prohibits dealings in new debt and equity issued by the Venezuelan government and the state-owned oil company. Here's a look at why the US made a decision to levy the penalties, which dramatically escalate tensions with the South American nation, and how likely they are to hurt Venezuela's economy and loosen President Nicolas Maduro's grip on power.

"We will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles", it said.

"We have troops all over the world".

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"The collapse of Venezuela will endanger all who call the Western Hemisphere home", Pence said in remarks delivered before some 600 people at a Catholic church in Doral, the heart of Miami's Venezuelan community.

Under the order, the Treasury Department intends to cut off financing to the "illegitimate" Maduro government.

Trump's executive order for Venezuela includes a wind-down period of 30 years and financing for the majority of commercial trade, which includes petroleum imports and exports. Until now, the U.S. has taken care to target individuals within Venezuela's evolving dictatorship. They occasionally shouted "freedom, freedom" and cheered every time the vice president spoke of President Donald Trump's interest in Venezuela, a socialist nation that has been undergoing an economic crisis.

Venezuela will "take all measures at its disposal", said Arreaza.

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One move that has been under consideration by the US would block trades of Venezuelan-held dollar-denominated notes sold by the government and Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state-run oil company, according to a third person familiar with the discussions, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

On Friday, journalists were invited to a shooting range at Caracas' main military base to watch as troops taught a handful of civilian government supporters how to fire assault weapons.

"No military actions are anticipated in the near future", McMaster told reporters on Friday, adding that Trump was presented with "many options" in case the situation in Venezuela deteriorated.

Del Pino, who has worked for PDVSA for about 30 years, had been in charge of the company from 2014 until January, when his dual roles of president and oil minister were split to make Martinez, previously the head of US -based unit Citgo Petroleum Corp., the new minister. Clearly, though, Trump and Pence have stopped worrying about subtlety and are going to get more and more assertive in South America.

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