In response to new US sanctions against the Venezuelan government, President Nicolás Maduro has stopped planned talks with the opposition for the time being. He said a trip to the Caribbean island of Barbados, where negotiators should meet on Thursday and Friday with representatives of the opposition. In a statement by the government, the US punitive measures were called "severe and brutal aggression" against Venezuela.

The US had Monday, the entire assets of the Venezuelan government in the US freeze. Also punishable are companies and states that continue to do business with the government in Caracas. "We will make sure Maduro gets the funds to stay afloat financially," said US Security Advisor John Bolton. The Venezuelan government condemned the new sanctions as "economic terrorism".

In Venezuela, there has been a bitter power struggle between the government of President Maduro and the self-appointed interim president Juan Guaidó for months. The latter, who has been recognized by many countries as a legitimate transitional leader, supports the sanctions to force a change of power in the South American country. The US government is one of Maduro's harshest critics.

Recently, however, there was movement in the dispute. Under the mediation of Norway, representatives of the Maduro government and the opposition had met several times in Barbados to seek a way out of the conflict.