The Trump administration has ordered a freeze on all Venezuelan government assets in the US.
In a significant escalation of tensions with the Nicolás Maduro government, Trump signed the executive order that bars Americans from doing business with the Venezuelan government. The order, which has been brought into effect immediately, cited Maduro’s continued “usurpation” of power as the reason behind the move.
As part of this order, any American who is found to be engaging in transaction with anyone assisting Maduro or his government will be banned from the country. Maduro supporters will also be barred from entering the US.
“All property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela that are in the United States … are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in,” the executive order states. However, delivery of food, medicine and clothing has been marked as exceptions. Transactions with the Venezuelan private sector are also unaffected.
With this order, the US has accentuated its efforts to remove Maduro since it recognized Opposition leader Juan Guaido has the rightful leader of the South American country in January.
Previous sanctions by the US have targeted Venezuelan government insiders and the country’s oil industry. Trump had earlier opined that he is considering a quarantine or blockade of Venezuela but did not divulge when or how it will be imposed.
China and Russia have continued to extend their support to Maduro, which prompted US national security adviser John Bolton to state that the ongoing support for Maduro “could affect repayment of their debt after Maduro falls”.
Meanwhile, Bolton and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will represent the United States at the International Conference for Democracy in Venezuela on Tuesday. Representatives from more than 50 nations that recognise Guaidó as Venezuela’s president will attend the conference.
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