U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to take ''strong and swift economic actions'' if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro goes ahead with plans to create a super-legislature known as a Constituent Assembly in a July 30 vote. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.
Donald Trump threatening Venezuela with sanctions on Monday (July 17). Promising to take, quote, "strong and swift economic actions" if the country creates a Constituent Assembly. Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro is pushing for the plan to go ahead in a vote at the end of the month. It would give the power to rewrite the constitution. However, Trump says the U.S. won't stand by as Venezuela crumbles. On Sunday (July 16), 98 percent of opposition supporters voted unofficially to reject the proposed assembly. Venezuelans also strongly back a call to hold elections before Maduro's term ends in 2019. Experts say the results - rejected by the leftist president - seem to confirm that the opposition would easily defeat the government in any election. The vote has energized Maduro's opponents who are now looking to ramp up their protests. The South American country has already faced months of anti-government riots, which have killed some 100 people. Maduro insists opposition leaders are U.S. pawns intent on sabotaging the economy and bringing him down through violence. If American sanctions were imposed they would likely be on Venezuela's vital energy sector. White House officials told Reuters last month the administration is moving cautiously. Mindful of moves which could deepen the country's economic and social crisis.