United States Senator Marco Rubio threatened the Venezuela government with “severe sanctions” if the National Constituent Assembly is held, eliciting a response from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declaring that Venezuela will not be intimidated.
Rubio issued a list of three stringent demands to Venezuela on his twitter account.
“1. Release and grant amnesty to all political prisoners. 2. Cancel 'constituent assembly.' 3. Schedule and hold international supervised elections,” the Senator said.
“Reconciliation possible in Venezuela if Maduro follows this path. But expect severe U.S. sanctions if 'constituent assembly' happens,” he said.
President Maduro tweeted shortly after that “Venezuela is a free, sovereign country and does not allow itself to be threatened by any global empire.”
“No government can come to tell us what can be done... Venezuela will overcome with the Constituent Assembly process, and imperialism will swallow its words,” he said.
The Constituent Assembly aims to arrive at a peaceful solution through dialogue to Venezuela's current political crisis. The final vote is scheduled for July 30th, when nearly 20 million Venezuelans will vote for 6,120 candidates representing diverse sectors and territories of society.
Many opposition groups have refused to participate in the constituent processes and dialogue to jointly solve the problems facing the country.
President Nicolas Maduro has said previously that Presidential elections will be held in 2018 as scheduled and constitutionally required.
Marco Rubio has pressured for increased intervention in Venezuela previously, most recently at a Permanent Council of the Organization of American States on March 28th, when he threatened various member organizations with diplomatic action if they voted in favor of non-interference and respect for Venezuela's sovereignty.
The US senator is also a prominent voice in favor of a harder stance against Cuba within the United States, advocating for a continuation of the embargo in spite of widespread popular opinion to the contrary.