U.S. imposes sanctions against Venezuela as president refuses to step down

U.S. imposes sanctions against Venezuela as president refuses to step down

U.S. imposes sanctions against Venezuela as president refuses to step down

On Monday, the administration slapped sanctions on state-owned oil company PDVSA that effectively block Maduro from exporting crude to the U.S.

The President of Venezuela's opposition-dominated National Assembly Juan Guaido will announce new boards of directors for state oil company PDVSA and its usa business, Citgo, UPI reports, citing a statement from the opposition leader. "Be on alert, Venezuela!"

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo took another step to bolster Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president, certifying that the National Assembly leader has control over key government bank accounts based in the U.S.

The sanctions were announced to ratchet up pressure against Maduro and demonstrate U.S. support for Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader who proclaimed himself interim president last week and was immediately recognised by the United States and a host of other countries.

The Kremlin has now warned these sanctions on amounted to illegal and open interference in the Latin American country's domestic affairs. Maduro is backed by a number of countries, including Russian Federation.

Venezuela has sunk into economic and political turmoil under Maduro's socialist government, with inflation seen rising to 10 million percent this year, chronic food shortages, protests and mass emigration. He promised to retain control of the office until free elections are held.

The UN spokesman Rupert Colville said on Tuesday that 696 people were detained on 23 January alone.

The United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela and PDVSA in 2017 that prevented Citgo from repatriating dividends to its parent company.

The new US sanctions could cause problems for Venezuela when it came to servicing its sovereign debt to Russia, which stands at $3.15 billion, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak told reporters.

"There will probably be problems".

The Trump administration had long held off targeting Venezuela's oil sector for fear that it would hurt USA refiners and raise oil prices for Americans. "It is hard, impossible to give a different assessment", Sergei Storchak said.

Traders at some major US hedge funds said their lawyers advised them not to touch the bonds for now without further guidance from Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Mnuchin said that Citgo would be able to continue to operate but won't be allowed to remit money to the Maduro regime.

But Mr Guaido's team may try a number of things, even if they were unlikely to work, because "politically it shows he is trying to do something, that he has power", Mr Holder said.

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