US envoy: Pressure will eventually oust Venezuelan president

Posted at 12:30 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 12:30:00-05

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration envoy to Venezuela says he believes increasing international pressure will eventually lead to the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro.

Special envoy Elliot Abrams did not predict when Maduro would step down. But Abrams said "a storm is brewing" inside his government and the Venezuelan leader "will not be able to weather it much longer."

Abrams testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, about a month after the U.S. took the unusual step of recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president.

He told lawmakers that U.S. oil sanctions are starting to bite the economically devastated country and are expected to cause oil production to be cut in half by the end of the year.

Abrams urged Venezuelan security forces to rise up against Maduro.