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US sanctions 34 freighters transporting oil from Venezuela to Cuba

 Washington, DC – The Treasury Department announced Friday economic sanctions against 34 freighters dedicated to transport oil from Venezuela to Cuba, in a new measure of pressure against the government of Nicolás Maduro.

“Cuba has been a major force feeding Venezuela’s descent into the crisis, the Treasury is taking action against ships and entities that transport oil and offer vital aid to maintain the illegitimate regime of Maduro,” said Steven Mnuchin, the secretary of the Treasury, in a statement.

In addition, Mnuchin remarked that “Cuba continues to take advantage, and supporting the regime through oil mechanisms for repression to keep Maduro in power.”

The sanctions affect two companies: Ballito Shipping Incorporated, based in Liberia, and ProPer In Management Incorporated, based in Greece, in addition to the 34 freighters owned by the state-owned company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

The measure announced by the Treasury supposes the freezing of the financial assets that may have under US jurisdiction and prohibits the execution of financial transactions with them.

Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Houston, the country’s oil center, Friday to meet with the Venezuelan community in the city and insist on his support for the opposition leader and head of the legislature, Juan Guaidó, who in January proclaimed himself president in charge of Venezuela after denouncing Maduro as “usurper”.

Since then, Guaidó has won the recognition of 54 countries, including most of Latin America and Europe.
However, other major powers, such as China or Russia, have maintained their support for Maduro, whom they consider the legitimate president of the Caribbean country.

The Government has also adopted several actions to pressure Maduro, such as the revocation of visas and sanctions against the state-run PDVSA, the main source of currency for Caracas.

Venezuela is experiencing an acute economic and political crisis, with a deep contraction of the GDP and in the middle of a hyperinflationary spiral, which has caused the shortage of basic and product numbers and the exit of the country of at least two million people. EFEUSA

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