Trump Signs Executive Order Slapping Venezuela With Financial Sanctions

Posted August 26, 2017

US President Donald Trump imposed new sanctions on Venezuela Friday, labeling President Nicolas Maduro a "dictator".

President Trump signed an executive order that bans USA companies and individuals from dealing in new debt and equity issued by the government of Venezuela and its state oil company.

The White House said it would allow certain exceptions, such as for humanitarian aid, in order "to mitigate harm to the American and Venezuelan people".

Maduro said earlier this week that Venezuela is prepared for any US sanctions and that the Trump administration is trying to create a "financial blockade" against the South American nation.

The sanctions follow through on Trump's threat last month that he would take strong economic actions if Maduro's increasingly authoritarian government went ahead with plans to create a constitutional assembly that is made up wholly of government loyalists.

The measures approved today have been carefully calibrated, explained the White House, to cut Maduro off on a crucial source of funding and prevent the U.S. financial system from contributing "to the corruption and impoverishment of the Venezuelan people".

The actions prohibit dealings in new debt and equity issued by the government of Venezuela and its state oil company.

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Reportedly, cheque clearance, NEFT or RTGS transactions, deposits and withdrawals at PSU banks will be impacted. Trying to privatise them in the name of reforms is nothing short of foolishness", they said.

The move came as Maduro has clamped down on political opposition and consolidated power in his government's hands. Several prominent opposition mayors have also been removed or ordered arrested by the pro-government supreme court.

The new sanctions stop short of a full oil embargo but nevertheless constitute a tough measure that will put further pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the Washington Post reports.

The United States thus attacks one of the main channels of financing of the Government of Maduro. Emphasizing the to refine Venezuela's self-defense capability, Maduro said that they will develop a "sovereign and anti-imperialist defense, popular and continental".

Earlier this month, Muchacho made headlines when he called U.S. military intervention in Venezuela "inevitable".

Maduro is already struggling to combat widespread shortages and triple-digit inflation as oil production has tumbled to its lowest level in more than two decades.

In July S&P Global Ratings lowered Venezuela's sovereign debt ratings, warning of the risk of default.