Trump wants 'restoration of Venezuela democracy', sanctions officials

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro walks with his wife Cilia Flores upon their arrival at the airport in Beijing

U.S. slaps sanctions on top Venezuelan officials, including President Maduro’s wife

Those hit with sanctions will have any assets or property in the United States seized - including a Gulfstream 200 private jet located in Florida and owned by Rafael Sarria Diaz, named as a front man - and USA institutions are prohibited from doing business with them.

The sanctions came Tuesday as President Trump was set to address the United Nations General Assembly.

In particular, Maduro reiterated his claim that the us and Colombia were behind the August 4 explosion of a drone at a military parade in Caracas where he was speaking.

He also invited the United Nations - and even the FBI - to investigate the attempt "and discover the truth".

Business will continue Wednesday at the General Assembly, where for a second day, 193 United Nations members take turns to speak out on pressing world issues and their national priorities in world affairs.

Meanwhile, Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the situation in Venezuela "is one of our foreign policy priorities", and Ottawa is urging action to help with the growing refugee crisis and its impact on neighboring Colombia. "We have to defend the continent from these unilateral threats", he said.

"Trump has said he's anxious about Venezuela and wants to help", Maduro said.

Approximately five million Colombian citizens now reside in Venezuela, many of whom refugees of Colombia's over half-century long civil war.

"But don't touch Cilia and my family", Maduro said.

Earlier in the day, Trump said he'd be willing to meet his longtime foe, but the White House said there were no immediate plans for such an encounter.

The request - announced on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly - also bolsters the idea that global bodies can hold corrupt or abusive leaders or governments responsible before their citizens. Just last week he had said he would likely skip the meeting (as he did last year) due to security concerns.

Sanctions such as those published on Tuesday bar American citizens and companies from any dealings with the individuals in question, which blocks them from holding bank accounts or contracting services from US firms.

Once landing in the lion's den, Maduro met with two men who symbolize adversarial relations with the United States - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The United States imposed new sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's wife and several of his top allies on Tuesday as US President Donald Trump urged members of the United Nations to support a "restoration of democracy" in the once-booming OPEC nation.

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.

"President Maduro relies on his inner circle to maintain his grip on power, as his regime systematically plunders what remains of Venezuela's wealth".

As a backdrop to the diplomatic maneuvering were rumbles of even more dramatic action. "More than 2 million people have fled the anguish inflicted by the socialist Maduro regime and its Cuban sponsors", Trump said.

Maduro arrived at a highly sensitive time, when talk of military intervention in the fast-collapsing country is escalating.

Venezuela was once among the wealthiest nations in Latin America, but the economy has been gutted by falling oil prices, reduced oil output and widespread incompetence and corruption.

The U.S. Treasury levied financial penalties on the South American nation's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez.

According to a recent poll, 30.5 percent of Venezuelans often just eat once a day.

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