Venezuela jumped back into U.S. crosshairs this week, with a slate of fresh U.S. Treasury Department sanctions on top Venezuelan figures, new Senate legislation aiming to further isolate the Venezuelan regime, and tough talk of even harsher measures from U.S. President Donald Trump at the annual United Nations General Assembly in NY.
Venezuela's President, Nicholas Maduro, has said that he is willing to reach out to his USA counterpart and discuss mutual grievances.
The sanctions would freeze any assets that a blacklisted person holds under US jurisdiction and ban any USA individuals or companies from making business transactions with them.
It is the first time that member nations of the court have referred a fellow member state to prosecutors and it adds pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government, which is mired in an economic and political crisis.
Maduro hit back on Venezuelan television, calling the sanctions a badge of honor for those around him.
"Currently we are witnessing the human tragedy" in Venezuela, Trump told world leaders gathered at the United Nations.
On Tuesday, Trump suggested that Maduro could be toppled by his own military as the U.S stepped up financial pressure by slapping the socialist president's inner circle with fresh sanctions.
"I'm even willing to talk to President Trump, I think if President Trump and I speak, we could understand each other", he said in Caracas.
Human Rights Watch was among those hailing the request, which was based on two reports: one by the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights that uncovered widespread extrajudicial executions and other violations, and another by an expert group designated by the Organization of American States that found reason to suspect 11 people, including Maduro, of crimes against humanity.
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"Today we're stronger than ever", a buoyant Maduro said in a video broadcast from the presidential jet as he and first lady Cilia Flores, who was just hit by USA sanctions, arrived from Caracas.
"I'm willing to meet with anybody anytime I can [to] save lives, help people", Trump said as he was asked whether the USA would ever intervene military to remove Maduro. He justifies the crackdown on opposition leaders by accusing them of attempts to assassinate him.
According to the United States migration and refugee organizations, more than 2.3 million Venezuelans are living overseas including 1.6 million who fled the country since 2015.
Maduro is the president of Venezuela.
He said his foes want to seize Venezuela's riches, which include the world's largest oil reserves and vast gold deposits.
Separately, a group of Latin American nations will present a complaint in NY on Wednesday against the Maduro administration for alleged human rights abuses to be investigated by the International Criminal Court, officials said. "We are not going to be complicit".
Maduro made the offer to the US President while speaking at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
But he declined to talk about possible United States military options. With hyperinflation in his nation spiraling toward 1 million percent and chronic shortages of food and medicines, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing the nation, overwhelming neighboring nations.
War drums. Trump wants a military intervention in Venezuela.