The United States has increased pressure on the controversial regime of President Nicolas Maduro by imposing sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA and the Venezuelan central bank.
US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Citgo Petroleum, a subsidiary of Houston-based PDVSA, would be able to continue operating, but no money would be allowed to go to the Maduro regime.
Instead, the proceeds will be held in US escrow accounts.
The minister added that he expects a “modest” impact on US refineries in the “near term.” He pointed out that the sanctions will not affect oil that has already been purchased and has not yet been delivered.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton told reporters at the White House during a press conference: “We continue to expose the corruption of Maduro and his cronies, and the action taken today ensures that they can no longer plunder the assets of the Venezuelan people.”
Venezuela is considering legal action
According to Maduro, what the United States is doing is not legally permissible. “Today the United States decided to follow the path of stealing Citgo from Venezuela,” Maduro said during a television broadcast on Monday. “PDVSA will take legal, political and commercial measures to defend Venezuela’s interests against the United States.”
Oil company PDVSA wants customers who bring oil tankers to receive crude oil bound for the United States to pay first before they leave, the news agency reported. Reuters According to three sources. “They are not allowing tankers bound for Valero, Citgo and Chevron to leave Venezuelan ports if they do not pay in advance,” one source said.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had ruled that no money would flow into the Maduro regime. Instead, payments to PDVSA will be held in US escrow accounts.
Erkent Guaido as interim president
The newly elected speaker of Venezuela's parliament, Juan Guaido, appointed himself the country's interim president on Wednesday. The United States was the first country to recognize Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
Maduro then stated that Guaido was trying to stage a coup with the help of the Americans. He also announced that American diplomats must leave the country at short notice. A few days later, he said he would close the Venezuelan embassy and consulates in the United States.
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