U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Venezuela’s Oil Industry

from The Wall Street Journal,

Actions aimed at crippling President Maduro’s government and empowering an opposition leader

The U.S. imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil giant in a dramatic move designed to empower the opposition and cripple the government of President Nicolás Maduro by preventing the proceeds of U.S. crude sales returning to Caracas. The sanctions on Petróleos de Venezuela SA, the South American country’s main exporter, are the culmination of a two-year pressure campaign, and are an attempt to funnel income from the country’s biggest revenue generator into the hands of opposition leader Juan Guaidó. It follows President Trump’s decision last week to recognize Mr. Guaidó as the nation’s legitimate head of state, and is by far the most powerful action so far to force Mr. Maduro to relinquish control of the country and allow new elections.

“Today’s designation of PdVSA will help prevent further diverting of Venezuela’s assets by Maduro and preserve these assets for the people of Venezuela,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the White House.

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