In a new attack on Venezuelan communism, the Trump administration announced a round of financial sanctions aimed at a group of people and firms that market oil on behalf of Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro.

In a press release issued Tuesday by the State Department, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reported on the U.S. Treasury Department’s decision to sanction three people, 14 commercial entities, and six ships. They are accused of collaborating with the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA to evade sanctions against it. 

An oilfield worker walks next to drilling rigs at an oil well operated by Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, in the oil-rich Orinoco belt on April 16, 2015. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters-File Photo)

“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 recent sanctions were directed to persons and firms mainly linked to Colombian businessman Alex Saab, who, according to the information, is a close collaborator of the dictator Nicolas Maduro.

Saab is currently detained for other cases related to fraud and corruption in the African country of Cape Verde, and the United States government is requesting his extradition in order to prosecute him.

“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],” the Treasury Department said. 

Pompeo’s statement determined that any entity or person collaborating with Nicolas Maduro is directly or indirectly cooperating with his oppressive system against the Venezuelan people.

“Those who facilitate Maduro’s attempts to evade U.S. sanctions allow him to continue his repressive practices against the Venezuelan people while he plunders Venezuela’s resources to enrich himself and his cronies.

Pompeo took the opportunity to recall the United States’ commitment to pursue those who promote and collaborate with the illegal practices used by Maduro’s regime to enrich itself while exploiting and plunging its people into misery.

“The United States remains committed to promoting accountability for those involved in facilitating illegitimate transactions that benefit Maduro and his corrupt network while contributing to the suffering of the Venezuelan people.  We will continue to use the full weight of U.S. economic and diplomatic power to promote the peaceful transition to a once-again free, prosperous, and stable Venezuela,” Pompeo said.

The Trump administration was instrumental in the last few years under the Venezuelan socialist regime of Nicolás Maduro. From the beginning, it declared it an illegal political system and therefore acted accordingly, taking action and sanctioning those responsible.

On the contrary, President Trump always supported the Venezuelan people and Juan Guaidó, who was understood as the true elected representative, unlike Maduro, who remains in power by illegally using force. 

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