The Trump administration have announced on Tuesday that sanctions have been placed onto a Russian state-controlled oil subsidiary, Rosneft. The move actively freezes any US-held assets. The firm is being accused of benefiting President Nicolás Maduro and even helping him evade previous U.S sanctions.
Maduro has been leading a corrupt and brutal regime, a charge he has always rejected. Just earlier this month the U.S imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state run airline Conviasa. This was due to rumours being said that they were shuttling corrupt officials around the world.
Moscow has long been a key ally of President Maduro, and Hugo Chávez before him. “The relationship is symbolically important. It’s about saying ‘we’re not alone, there are others who are very critical of the US and Western policy’,” explains Andrei Kortunov of the Russian International Affairs Council.
‘I think this is a very significant step, and I think you will see companies all over the world in the oil sector now move away from dealing with Rosneft Trading” Elliot Abrams, the U.S special representative for Venezuela told reporters. He also stated that Rosneft Trading controls about 70% of Venezuelan oil. Officials have now warned other companies worldwide about dealing with them. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin added in a statement “The United States is determined to prevent the looting of Venezuela’s oil assets by the corrupt Maduro regime’
President Maduro remains in power, supported by Venezuela’s military as well as China, Cuba and Russia. His ability to destroy a countries whole economy along with corruption and human right violations has been a source of frustration, U.S officials have said privately.
A general license has been issued allowing companies a 90 day window to cut transactions with Rosneft Trading. In the sanctions program against Maduro, it has been urged the armed forces to turn against him.
He has responded with deploying militia and armoured vehicles in the capital Caracas and all around the country.
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