Published: Sat, August 26, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Trump Signs Sanctions Banning Purchase of Venezuela, State Oil Company Debt

Trump Signs Sanctions Banning Purchase of Venezuela, State Oil Company Debt

President Donald Trump imposed new financial sanctions against Venezuela on Friday, a response to President Nicolas Maduro convening a special assembly to rewrite the country's constitution - seen by the us and its allies as his attempt to take on more presidential powers.

"The regime's decision to create an illegitimate Constituent Assembly - and most recently to have that body usurp the powers of the democratically elected National Assembly - represents a fundamental break in Venezuela's legitimate constitutional order".

The sanctions come two days after Vice President Pence met with Venezuelan exiles in Miami, promising them that "we are with you and we will stand with you until democracy is restored in Venezuela".

Exceptions will be made for certain transactions between the United States and Venezuela, including petroleum exports and imports involving Citgo, PDVSA's American unit, as well as financing for humanitarian efforts, Mnuchin said.

Trump's executive order for Venezuela includes a wind-down period of 30 years and financing for the majority of commercial trade, which includes petroleum imports and exports. He went on to say that, "Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they're dying".

The sanctions stop short of cutting off United States imports of Venezuelan oil that are crucial to Venezuela's economy and U.S. oil refiners.

The statement claimed that the new order would not harm the Venezuelan people.

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He said the sanctions were crafted to strike a balance between targeted efforts aimed at cutting Maduro's ability to raise new money while also allowing some exceptions to ensure ordinary Venezuelans are not afflicted. "I am punished for defending the natural resources of Venezuelan lands".

He said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will not attend the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations, scheduled for next month. "This is not about changing leadership per se, this is about restoring the democratic process and rule of law", Mnuchin said.

"From next week, we will write the chapters of the new constitution", Delcy Rodriguez, the leader of the assembly and Maduro's former foreign minister, said Thursday. The military was conducting drills on Friday ahead of weekend training. Maduro has rallied military forces and civilians to protect the country. The drills are scheduled for August 26-27.

This month, President Trump did not dismiss the possibility of military action on Venezuela.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called military action "unacceptable" as he stood next to Pence.

Earlier this week Vice President Mike Pence vowed the USA would not allow "the collapse of Venezuela", saying such an event would "endanger" countries in the wider region.

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