Trump Administration Hits Venezuela With More Sanctions

The Trump administration announced a round of financial sanctions that target a network of individuals moving oil on behalf of Venezuelan socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned three individuals, 14 business entities, and six ships with sanctions, accusing them of assisting Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, which is under Maduro’s control, evade previous sanctions. Over the past several years, the Trump administration has moved to sanction Maduro, saying that the Venezuelan leader is illegitimate while recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido.

“Those facilitating the illegitimate Maduro regime’s attempts to circumvent United States sanctions contribute to the corruption that consumes Venezuela,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States remains committed to targeting those enabling the Maduro regime’s abuse of Venezuela’s natural resources.”

The fresh sanctions target people and businesses linked with Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman who U.S. officials say is a close associate Maduro. Saab is jailed in the African nation of Cape Verde while fighting extradition to the United States to face corruption charges. Other figures targeted by the sanctions are Alessandro Bazzoni, Francisco Javier D’Agostino Casado, Philipp Paul Vartan Apikian, Elemento Ltd., and Swissoil Trading SA.

“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these individuals and entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to [the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control],” said the Treasury. “In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the designated individuals and entities, are also blocked. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.”

On Tuesday, the Department of Commerce announced measures to block U.S. technology from being used by militaries in Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, and China.

Last month, U.S. Department of State and Treasury Department took action against a Venezuelan election systems company for supporting Maduro’s allegedly fraudulent Dec. 6 legislative elections.

The firm, Ex-Cle Soluciones Biometricas C.A. (Ex-Cle C.A.), is accused of materially supporting Maduro’s regime by “providing goods and services that the Maduro regime used to carry out the fraudulent December 6, 2020 parliamentary elections,” said the Department of the Treasury in a news release, while also announcing sanctions against the company and two of its executives.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times