Top commander unveils US focus on post-Maduro Venezuela
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Top commander unveils US focus on post-Maduro Venezuela

Insisting on the importance of maintaining “continuous pressure” on what he described as the “illegitimate regime” in Caracas, Navy Admiral Craig Faller further warned on Monday against Venezuela’s “formidable weapon system” while also slamming Russia, Cuba and China for backing Maduro’s government in face of surging US-led measures to force its overthrow, AP reported Tuesday. Faller, who made the remarks in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro where the US military is leading the annual UNITAS naval war games with allied Latin American forces, also expressed concerns about the growing influence of China in Brazil amid reports that Beijing has emerged as the largest foreign investor in South America’s biggest country. Faller had earlier addressed reporters about Washington’s persisting efforts against Maduro’s administration, saying: "The US government focus continues to be to place focused and targeted pressure on an illegitimate regime to ensure there's a transition to a legitimate, democratic government." He further suggested that the UNITAS war games also serve to "send a message to the world of what democracies that work together can do across a range of complex threats." US President Donald Trump had previously asserted that his administration is considering a "blockade or quarantine" against the Latin American nation. The development came just days after defense chiefs of Russia and Venezuela signed an agreement in Moscow overseeing visits by warships of both nations to each other’s ports amid continuing US efforts to undermine the government in Caracas. President Maduro had vowed during a rally in Caracas a week earlier that his nation was ready to resist and “defeat” Washington’s “imperialist blockade” against Venezuela. Washington has repeatedly demanded that Moscow withdraw its support for Maduro. Russia has rejected the request, insisting that the US is attempting to instigate a coup against the Venezuelan president in defiance of international law. The US threatened Russia with new sanctions last month over its support for Maduro. The White House’s point man for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, said the new sanctions against Moscow would be announced on July 25.

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