White House National Security Advisor John Bolton and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin announced new sanctions on Venezuela's largest state run oil company Monday afternoon as dictator Nicolas Maduro refuses to step down from power.
“The United States is holding accountable those responsible for Venezuela’s tragic decline, and will continue to use the full suite of its diplomatic and economic tools to support Interim President Juan Guaidó, the National Assembly, and the Venezuelan people’s efforts to restore their democracy,” Mnuchin released in a statement. “Today’s designation of PdVSA [Petroleos de Venezuela] will help prevent further diverting of Venezuela’s assets by Maduro and preserve these assets for the people of Venezuela. The path to sanctions relief for PdVSA is through the expeditious transfer of control to the Interim President or a subsequent, democratically elected government.”
During a briefing at the White House, Mnuchin added that Petroleos de Venezuela has "long been a vehicle for corruption."
Bolton and Mnuchin announce sanctions on Venezuela state owned oil company. Call for peaceful transfer of power. pic.twitter.com/slGyiugOAX— Fred Lucas (@FredLucasWH) January 28, 2019
Secretary Mike Pompeo, who urged the international community to condemn Maduro at the United Nations Sunday, backed the move from the State Department.
Today the U.S. determined that persons operating in #Venezuela’s oil sector may now be subject to sanctions. @PDVSA has been designated for sanction. These actions prevent the #Maduro regime from further plundering Venezuela’s assets and natural resources. #EstamosUnidosVE pic.twitter.com/oPdLLs19LI— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 28, 2019
Maduro is desperately clinging to power as the illegitimate president of the country, prompting Bolton to strongly warn there will be severe consequences should he harm Americans working in the country or go after President Juan Guiado.
US sanctions Venezuelan state oil company. Happening now. Bolton reiterates that it will hold armed forces responsible for any attacks on US diplomats and urges all governments to recognize @jguaido— Eli Lake (@EliLake) January 28, 2019
Bolton at White House: "The United States will hold Venezuelan security forces responsible for the safety of all U.S. diplomatic personnel, the National Assembly and President Guaidó."— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) January 28, 2019