US sanctions on Venezuelan oil and gas exports formally enter into force

US sanctions on Venezuelan oil and gas exports formally enter into force

As of today, sanctions will apply to Venezuela’s state oil and natural gas company, PDVSA, and any other company that

foto guaido ordena suspender suministro petroleo venezolano cuba

Photo: Reuters

As of today, sanctions will apply to Venezuela’s state oil and natural gas company, PDVSA, and any other company that has 50% ownership by the Venezuelan government.

Washington has taken the action—announced in February—to force incumbent Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to relinquish power to opposition leader Juan Guaido. Mr Guaido declared himself interim-president in January and is recognised as such by the United States and 50 other countries.

The Maduro government has responded by cracking down on Guaido’s political supporters, including the arrest and detainment of a close aide and the removal of Guaido’s parliamentary immunity. The latter move is considered an important step towards Guaido’s arrest.

The sanctions will ramp up pressure on Mr Maduro but they are unlikely to force him from office. The country still receives economic aid from Russia and China and with Maduro retaining the support of the military, his position is safe for the foreseeable future. Therefore, a stalemate ensues, with Maduro staying on and the US likely preferring sanctions despite it looking less and less likely of changing the government.

However, this may change should Guaido be arrested. Washington officially states “all options are on the table” but coordinated regional sanctions carry less risks than an invasion.

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