U.S Imposes Sweeping Sanctions on Venezuelan Government


President Donald Trump has imposed sweeping sanctions on the Venezuelan government, freezing assets in the U.S. and barring transactions with it.

This measure is expected to be far more damaging for Venezuela’s socialist government than previous sanctions. The move is the latest aimed at increasing presure on President Nicolas Maduro to step down. The U.S. is one of more than 50 nations that do not recognise Mr. Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate president.

It has instead given its backing to the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, who declared himself president in January.

President Trump signed an executive order which states that “all property and interests in property of the government of Venezuela that are in the United States are blocked and may not be transfered, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in”. The order also bars transactions with Venezuelan authorities whose assets are blocked, stating that “the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order”.

“The receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person is also banned.

The move really ramps up the pressure on President Maduro by not only targeting his government’s assets in the U.S. but also the individuals, companies and countries doing business with his government. It means that Venezuela will face many of the U.S. restrictions on Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria. It goes much further than previous U.S. sanctions which targeted Venezuelan leader, including President Maduro himself, and specific state-run entities such as oil company PDVSA, Venezuela’s Central Bank and its Development Bank.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said the new sanctions could be imposed on “anyone who support” Mr. Maduro’s government. The new measures, he added, would force countries and companies to choose between doing business with the U.S. or with Venezuela.

America would use “every tool to end Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela”, he said. In a letter to the U.S. Congress, President Trump wrote that he had imposed the measure “in light of the continued usurpation of power by Nicolas Maduro and persons affiliated with him, as well as human rights abuses, arbitrary arrest and detention of Venezuelan citizens.