politics

Durbin Visits Venezuela for Talks With Government and Opposition

Dick Durbin

Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is in Venezuela to meet with government and opposition leaders, his spokesman said.

Durbin, of Illinois, is the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate. His spokesman, Ben Marter, said he wouldn’t comment on the agenda or the purpose of the trip.

President Donald Trump’s administration is weighing whether to ratchet up sanctions against Venezuela, and officials have said that could include banning oil imports from and exports to the nation.

Meetings are planned this month between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his counterparts from the European Union, Canada, the U.K. and many Latin American countries to coordinate efforts to tighten economic pressure on President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

Trump last month banned U.S. purchases of a cryptocurrency the Venezuela government is rolling out as part of the campaign. That is in addition to sanctions on Venezuelan officials accused of corruption and rights violations.

The U.S. is attempting to free Joshua Holt, a Utah man imprisoned since 2016 in Venezuela on weapons charges that his family says are bogus.

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