President Trump on Monday introduced an executive order expanding sanctions against Venezuela government into a full economic embargo.
The sanctions block American companies and individuals from doing business with Maduro’s government and its top supporters, which takes effect immediately, according to AP.
More than 100 officials and government insiders have also had their U.S. assets frozen and blocked from doing business with Americans. As part of the executive order, Americans or U.S. companies that do business with such individuals face penalties. The same Maduro supporters will also be banned from entering the United States according to AP.
President Trump said in a letter to the House of Representatives and Senate. “I have determined that it is necessary to block the property of the Government of Venezuela in light of the continued usurpation of power by the illegitimate Nicolás Maduro regime, as well as the regime’s human rights abuses, arbitrary arrest and detention of Venezuelan citizens, curtailment of free press, and ongoing attempts to undermine Interim President Juan Guaidó and the democratically-elected Venezuelan National Assembly.”
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton hinted earlier on Monday that far-reaching U.S. action was close at hand. Speaking to reporters on the eve of an international conference in Peru to show support for Guaidó, he said that the United States was readying measures “that will show the determination that the United States has to get a peaceful transfer of power,” according to AP.
The United States recognized Juan Guaidó, the leader of Venezuela’s national assembly, as Venezuela’s sole legitimate leader in January 2019 after Maduro’s 2018 election was widely considered as a sham. Since then, 54 countries have recognized Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
According to AP, the Maduro government has yet to respond. But Guaidó celebrated the U.S. action, saying it would protect Houston-based oil company CITGO — Venezuela’s most valuable overseas asset — from attempts by Maduro to mortgage its assets.
“Any individual, company, institution, or nation that tries to do business with the regime will be seen by the international justice system as collaborating with and sustaining a dictatorship,” Guaidó said in a series of late-night tweets. “They will be subject to sanctions and considered an accomplice to crimes.”
Includes reporting from The Associate Press.