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Venezuelan bishops condemn arrest of opposition leader's Chief of Staff

The Bishops of Venezuela have condemned the arrest of the opposition leader’s Chief of Staff saying the move violates his fundamental human rights . Marrero's arrest came as the US slapped new sanctions on the country's development bank.

By James Blears

Venezuela's bishops have issued a statement condemning the arrest of the opposition leader’s Chief of Staff.  The statement, released on Friday, said Roberto Marrero’s arrest on Thursday violated his fundamental rights as set forth in the constitution.

Meanwhile, as US President Donald Trump met with the leaders of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Bahamas, St Lucia and Jamaica at his Mar a Lago resort in Florida, the Treasury Department delivered a chilling economic blast to Venezuela.

It follows the arrest of Roberto Marrero, the Chief of Staff of self declared Interim President Juan Guaido, on Thursday in the middle of the night, when agents smashed down the door of his Caracas home. The Venezuelan Ministry of Interior accuses him of being part of a terrorist cell and planning acts of sabotage. Guaido says that weapons and foreign currency found at his colleague`s house were planted.

The US sanctions are aimed at Venezuela`s National Development Bank and four of its subsidiaries.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has caustically stated: "The regime`s continued use of kidnappings, torture and murder, will not be tolerated by the US nor the International Coalition."

Earlier this week UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet who`s the former President of Chile, said that US sanctions on financial transfers connected to the oil industry would significantly aggravate its already deepening economic crisis, commenting: "Divisions are exacerbating an already critical situation." She also said that Venezuelan Government forces have used excessive force.

As usual it`s the Venezuelan people, who`ll be hit hardest by these latest strictures.

Listen to the report by James Blears
23 March 2019, 17:04