Trump Signs Executive Order Slapping Venezuela With Financial Sanctions

by Susie Olson August 26, 2017, 1:15
Trump Signs Executive Order Slapping Venezuela With Financial Sanctions

The Trump administration slapped sweeping financial sanctions on Venezuela on Friday, dramatically ratcheting up tensions between the two countries and making it harder for embattled President Nicolas Maduro to raise badly needed cash to prevent a debt default.

A statement issued by the White House said, "These measures are carefully calibrated to deny the Maduro dictatorship a critical source of financing to maintain its illegitimate rule". "Maduro may no longer take advantage of the American financial system to facilitate the wholesale looting of the Venezuelan economy at the expense of the Venezuelan people", he said.

Last week, Venezuela's constituent assembly gave itself the power to pass laws, seizing legislative power from the opposition-led congress.

"We have troops all over the world. It has just been issued and we are preparing the response to protect our people", said Arreaza, speaking from the United Nations headquarters in NY.

Barring Venezuelan debt purchases could cripple Caracas' ability to raise money to pay off interest on its growing national debt, as the oil-producing country has been doing in the middle of an unprecedented economic collapse.

It was not immediately clear how hard the sanctions would hit Venezuela's vital energy sector and whether they would affect its dealings with investors from other countries.

US President Donald Trump and his administration are aiming to squeeze out the regime by depriving it of its most essential financial resources. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, when asked a few minutes later to elaborate, said, "We leave all options on the table and we're not taking any of those things off". "We must have the capacity to respond with firmness and the fierceness to fight, weapons in hand, if we have to defend the sacred land of Venezuela".

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Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Friday at the United Nations that the new USA financial sanctions are "the worst aggressions to Venezuela in the last 200 years, maybe".

They conveyed the message to US Vice President Mike Pence, as he traveled to the region to drum up support for US pressure on Maduro.

Trump's executive order for Venezuela includes a wind-down period of 30 years and financing for the majority of commercial trade, which includes petroleum imports and exports.

Prohibiting Americans from offering new equity for the government of Venezuela.

Trump has even raised the specter of military action, something Maduro has sought to use to unify the armed forces.

Venezuela's former oil minister Eulogio Del Pino will resume the role while incumbent Nelson Martinez will take over as the new chief of the state energy firm PDVSA, the Venezuelan president said Thursday. The statement also accuses Maduro of "mismanagement and rampant plundering of his nation's assets".


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