Trump Admin Deals Parting Blow to Venezuela with Sweeping New Sanctions


The Trump administration issued a parting shot at Venezuelan ruler Nicolás Maduro on Tuesday, announcing a round of stiff financial sanctions that target a network accused of moving oil on behalf of Maduro’s alleged frontman.

The U.S. Treasury Department hit three individuals, 14 business entities and six ships with financial measures.

They’re accused of helping the Venezuelan oil firm PDVSA, which is under Maduro’s control, to evade earlier U.S. sanctions.

Trump, who leaves the White House on Wednesday, has led an international coalition over the last two years in exerting increasing pressure on Maduro to end what U.S. officials say is an illegitimate hold on power.

The White House recognizes Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the nation’s legitimate leader, blaming Maduro for Venezuela’s economic and political ruin.

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“The United States remains committed to targeting those enabling the Maduro regime’s abuse of Venezuela’s natural resources,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement.

The fresh sanctions target people and businesses linked with Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman who U.S. officials say is linked to Maduro. Saab is jailed in the African nation of Cape Verde while fighting extradition to the U.S. to face corruption charges.

Sanctions by the U.S. Treasury’s Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control block any assets that targeted individuals and businesses have in U.S. jurisdictions and bar Americans from conducting financial transactions with them.

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