US President Donald Trump issued the decree on Monday, announcing that “all assets and interests of the Venezuelan government in the United States … are blocked, and can not be assigned, redeemed, exported, withdrawn or otherwise settled” .
Trade relations between Washington and this South American country are comparable to those with Cuba, Syria, Iran and North Korea. The ban on Americans from doing business with the Government of Venezuela takes effect immediately.
“All the property and interests of the Government of Venezuela in the United States … are blocked and can not be assigned, paid, exported, withdrawn or otherwise processed,” the decree says.
The order, signed Monday by President Trump, reported on Maduro’s continued “usurpation” of power and human rights violations by his followers.
Although the order does not conform to an absolute trade embargo, it represents the most determined action by the United States to overthrow Maduro since the Trump administration recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as as a legitimate leader of Venezuela in January.
As such, it puts Venezuela at the same level as opponents such as Cuba, Syria, Iran and North Korea, which have also been subject to stringent measures by the United States.
The previous sanctions targeted dozens of Venezuelan government insiders as well as the oil industry of the South American nation, the source of almost all of its export earnings.
Under the executive order, Americans will be prohibited from engaging in transactions with anyone wishing to assist Maduro or his government. The same Maduro supporters will also be banned from entering the United States.
Exceptions will be allowed for the delivery of food, medicine and clothing. Transactions with the still important private sector in Venezuela also do not seem to be affected.
China and Russia continue to support Maduro, urging US National Security Advisor John Bolton to warn both countries not to double their support for him.
On Tuesday, Bolton and US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross represented the United States at the International Conference for Democracy in Venezuela.
Representatives from more than 50 countries attended the conference. They recognized Guaidó as president of Venezuela and felt that Maduro’s reelection last year was fraudulent.
Moments after the announcement of the executive order, Bolton tweeted that he was considering what he hoped would be a “productive” day in Lima.
Venezuela on Tuesday called the White House’s decision to freeze all assets of the Venezuelan state in the United States from “new serious attack”.
The new sanctions imposed by the Trump administration follow a series of “arbitrary measures of economic terrorism against the Venezuelan people,” said Tuesday the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela in a statement.
“Washington has issued a new decree aimed at formalizing the economic, trade and financial criminal embargo that is already in place, and that has seriously affected Venezuelan society in recent years,” the ministry said.