Trump bars banks from buying Venezuela state bonds


Arreaza asks whether Americans "want to starve the Venezuelan people".

The sanctions are aimed at severely limiting the government's ability to finance itself, hoping to undermine President Nicolás Maduro's legitimacy among domestic supporters.

"We will not remain motionless in the face of the collapse of Venezuela", says the White House in a press release announcing these sanctions.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster said Friday that the White House does not anticipate taking any "military actions" against Venezuela "in the near future".

Venezuelan oil minister Nelson Martinez and state oil company president Eulogio Del Pino will switch roles as the South American country's production wanes and money dries up.

David Smilde, a Tulane University sociologist who has spent decades researching Venezuela, said blanket sanctions that immediately cut off the government's cash flow and hurt the population are likely to strengthen Maduro in the short-term.

"The U.S. government will not allow the Maduro regime and a few corrupt individuals to use the U.S. financial system ... as a vehicle for their efforts to abuse the Venezuelan people and their constitutional rights", a senior administration official told reporters on a call Friday. It also targets sanctions for the first time on the state oil company PDVSA, although at the moment, the White House did not take the big step of imposing an oil embargo.

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But there is a humanitarian crisis in the nation of almost 32 million, thanks largely to the economic devastation brought on by falling oil prices and production.

But with Venezuela's streets calmer than they have been for months, and the opposition still reeling from its failure to prevent the constitutional assembly from going forward, action from increasingly concerned worldwide community represents the best chance of reining in Maduro, he added.

Protests have shaken the streets of Caracas since April, when the Venezuelan Supreme Court, loyal to the Maduro regime, assumed the responsibilities of the National Assembly, widely seen as a last stronghold of the opposition.

Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Treasury Department froze all of Maduro's assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibited all U.S. citizens from dealing with him.

The White House said the measures were "carefully calibrated" to put financial pressure on the government of President Nicolas Maduro. "We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary".

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence signaled the move earlier Friday, tweeting that the U.S.