Published On: Tue, Jan 29th, 2019

US adds sanctions to Venezuela’s oil, Russia and China speak out against the move

National Security Adviser John Bolton said President Nicolás Maduro and his allies could “no longer loot the assets of the Venezuelan people” as part of the announcement of increased sanctions against Venezuela to force a regime change.

The US and more than 20 countries have recognised opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president.

John Bolton

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the proceeds of the purchase of Venezuelan oil would now be withheld from Maduro’s government, but the company could avoid sanctions by recognising Guaidó.

Venezuela is heavily reliant on the US for its oil revenue – sending 41% of its oil exports there.

Guaidó says he is ordering Venezuela’s Congress to name new heads of the PDVSA and Citgo, as he aims to take control of the country’s assets.

Meanwhile, supporters of the oppressive socialist regime spoke out against the sanctions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sanctions completely undermined confidence in the international financial system that is dominated by the U.S.

“Russia is doing everything to support the lawful government of Maduro,” Lavrov added, calling U.S. sanctions against Venezuelan state energy firm PDVSA “cycnical.”

China Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said historical experience showed foreign interference “only makes situations more complicated,” Reuters reported.

In November 2017, Russia agreed to restructure Venezuelan sovereign debt of $3.15 billion, with repayments lasting 10 years. Although PDVSA’s debts were not thought to be part of this deal. On Tuesday, Russia’s finance ministry said Venezuela is due to pay Russia $100 million in March and that debt servicing problems were possible, Interfax said.

Russia is also heavily involved in Venezuela’s energy industry with Russian energy firm Rosneft holding a large stake in a subsidiary of PDVSA. PDVSA used 49.9 percent of its shares in its U.S. subsidiary Citgo as collateral for loan financing from Russia’s majority state-owned Rosneft in 2016.

Bolton offered a stern message to Maduro to step aside: “The president has made it clear that all options are on the table,” Bolton told reporters in the White House briefing room.

“We also today call on the Venezuelan military and security forces to accept the peaceful, democratic and constitutional transfer of power,” Bolton said.

Bolton held a yellow note pad that note “5,000 troops to Colombia,” hinting at a troop response without having to state it publicly.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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