The Trump administration is considering additional sanctions on Venezuelan individuals close to the Maduro government, but will first try to enlist support from other countries. This is what unnamed sources close to the President told Bloomberg, adding that the new sanctions will target between 10 and 20 people and will consist of freezing their assets.
On July 31, the U.S. administration froze the assets of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro in response to a vote that called for a Constituent Assembly—a parliament that has the powers to amend the country’s constitution. There were expectations that the sanctions would target Venezuela’s oil industry as well, but these seem to remain under consideration for the time being.
In addition to Maduro, U.S. sanctions are in place against 13 senior government officials, including a vice-president of state-owned oil company PDVSA. Media reports from before the July 30 Constituent Assembly vote cited sources from Washington as saying that all options were on the table, including a suspension of U.S. oil exports to Venezuela as well as a ban on Venezuelan imports into the U.S., although the latter was highly improbable as it would create a problem for Gulf Coast refineries. Venezuela is the third-largest oil exporter to the United States. Related: U.S. Oil Sanctions Could Push Venezuela To The Brink
The Maduro government has attracted much criticism, not just from Western countries but from its neighbors as well, including Peru and Chile. Eleven countries from Latin America plus Canada are meeting today to discuss the Venezuelan situation in Peru’s capital, Lima. Peru’s President, Pedro Pablo Kuczynsky last year called for foreign intervention in Venezuela on the grounds that an internationally mediated dialogue between the government and the opposition, which dominated the previous parliament, had failed to deliver results.
In the meantime, oil companies that still have operations in Venezuela are removing their staff. So far, Repsol and Statoil have moved all their expat staff out of Venezuela, with Chevron and Total pulling out some employees.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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