US takes action to end ‘Cuba’s influence on Venezuela’

WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) – The United States Department of State says the Trump administration has taken action to end “Cuba’s influence on Venezuela”.

“Today, the United States sanctioned four companies for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy and identified nine vessels as blocked property, pursuant to Executive Order 13850,” said the State Department in a statement on Friday.

These actions are a follow-on to the designations announced on April 5, which targeted entities and vessels known to be involved in the transportation of crude oil from Venezuela to Cuba.

“Venezuela’s ongoing democratic transition is being impeded by malign actors that continue to prop up the former Maduro regime,” the statement said. “Venezuelans lack access to basic necessities, such as water, electricity and adequate health care, while Maduro and his cronies continue to enrich themselves and strip Venezuela of its natural assets.

“These actions seek to hinder the regime’s further theft and the predatory influence of Cuba, which takes Venezuela’s oil and pays the regime with security and intelligence forces to keep Nicolas Maduro in power,” it added.

“The United States will continue to do all we can to stand up against Cuba’s support for the former Maduro regime and its hostility to the Venezuelan people’s aspiration to a peaceful, prosperous, democratic future,” the statement continued.

“Cuba’s intervention only seeks to delay the inevitable – the peaceful transition back to freedom and democracy that is underway in Venezuela, led by the Venezuelan people, Interim President Juan Guaido, and the National Assembly,” it said.

On April 5, the State Department said that the Government sanctioned Ballito Bay Shipping Inc. and ProPer in Management Inc, operating in Venezuela’s oil sector, and the vessel Despina Andrianna “used to transport oil” to Cuba.

Additional vessels, in which Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA, has interests, are being identified as “blocked property, pursuant to Executive Order 13850,” the State Department said.

The US Department of the Treasury recently said it was imposing new sanctions on the South American country purportedly in response to the kidnapping of a top aide of Venezuela’s Opposition Leader, Juan Guaidó, who Trump is determined to replace Maduro.

The Treasury Department said the new sanctions specifically target Venezuela’s national development bank, BANDES, and four additional subsidiaries that BANDES “owns or controls.”