John Bolton, the U.S. National Security Adviser, gave a press conference Tuesday informing everyone that White House has taken executive action to freeze Venezuela’s assets. The news came out as a warning to companies and foreign governments America will retaliate if business of any sort is conducted with President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist administration.
The executive order is effective immediately and is the first to happen in the Western Hemisphere since the 1980s when General Manuel Noriega’s government was frozen.
This puts Venezuela on the shortlist of adversaries the U.S. has done this to. North Korea, Cuba, Iran, and Syria have been the only ones in this century to face the drastic measures from the U.S.
Bolton stated in Peru with more than 50 nations against the Venezuelan government, “Now, Venezuela is part of this very exclusive club of rogue states.” Bolton added, “We are sending a signal to third parties that want to do business with the Maduro regime: Proceed with extreme caution. There is no need to risk your business interests with the United States for the purposes of profiting from a corrupt and dying regime.”
The executive order falls short of a trade embargo but spares the private sector of Venezuela. It is a push to recognize Juan Guaido as the rightful leader of Venezuela and is a push to rid of Maduro. It exposes entities who decide to take up business with Maduro’s socialist government and who is teasing with the U.S. retaliation.
The Miami-based head of Caracas Capital Market brokerage, Russ Dallen stated, “The apparent goal is to give the U.S. the ability to apply the law beyond its borders to allies of Maduro like China, Russia, Cuba, Iran, and Turkey.
Should those foreign entities continue doing business with Maduro, they can have their U.S. assets seized.” The move was justified by President Trump’s signature for the executive order and cites Maduro’s continued usurpation of power and human rights abuses by security forces loyal to him.”
So far, Russia is the only country to go against the United States’ actions against Maduro. Venezuela and Russia are allies and the head of the Russian upper house’s international affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachev stated Tuesday, “The move amounts to international banditry.” He also added, “It represents an open meddling into Venezuela’s internal affairs.”
Venezuela has been hit with an extreme amount of suffering from its people. The citizens are going through a depression greater than the Great Depression the U.S. went through in the 1930s.
The oil production in Venezuela has crashed, and they have lost all of their export earnings. This began in 2013 under the leadership of Maduro’s mentor Hugo Chavez.
There are over a hundred government insiders and officials who have their assets blocked and frozen from the United States and can no longer do business with the Americans under the executive order of President Trump.
Any business that does business will face penalties, and the supporters of Maduro can no longer enter the United States. The only exceptions allowed to be delivered will be medicine, food, and clothes.
Maduro and his government have not responded as of yet to the executive order, but the former leader Guaido welcomed the U.S.’s order as CITGO, a Houston based oil company, will not be mortgaged under Maduro’s attempts to claim the country’s assets.
Guaido sent out tweets late Monday night, Tuesday morning stating, “Any individual, company, institution or nation that tries to do business with the regime will be seen by the international justice system as collaborating with and sustaining a dictatorship. They will be subject to sanctions and considered an accomplice to crimes.”
Geoff Ramsey, a researcher at the Washington Office on Latin America, stated, “The measures will aggravate the humanitarian crisis even with the exceptions in place to protect the most vulnerable as Western banks avoid processing even legitimate transactions. The truth is that no financial institution wants to run afoul of the Treasury Department.”
Ramsey continued on his opinion, “Instead of doubling down on the same embargo strategy that has failed for decades to produce regime change in communist Cuba, the U.S. should do more to support ongoing negotiations sponsored by Norway between Maduro and Guaidó representatives.”
The U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Bolton were at the conference in Lima, Peru to represent the U.S. amongst 59 other nations who back Guaido and support him with a few minor exceptions and feels Maduro’s reelection was fraudulent last year.