first published on January 29, 2019 by Will
The Trump Administration has just announced it will levy sanctions against Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), a state-owned energy company which is also Venezuela’s largest source of revenue.
They crippling action will freeze $7 billion in assets and will cost the country an estimated $11 billion in lost exports over the next year. The sanctions are intended to prevent Venezuela’s oil revenue from reaching embattled President Nicolás Maduro, thus pressuring him to relinquish power.
National Security Adviser John Bolton claimed the sanctions will be lifted as soon as Maduro resigns his presidency and allows the US-recognized interim President Juan Guaidó to take control of the collapsing nation.
Bolton also indicated that the use of military force against Maduro and his loyalists is not being ruled out, stating that, “The president has made it clear that all options are on the table … We also today call on the Venezuelan military and security forces to accept the peaceful, democratic and constitutional transfer of power.”
Venezuela, once touted as a socialism success story, has been in a predictable economic and societal free fall. Hyperinflation combined with food and medicine shortages has led to looting, riots, and assassination and coup attempts. The United Nations (UN) estimates that 5,000 Venezuelans are fleeing the country each day.
Russia and China are are outraged at Trump’s sanctions. Venezuela is one of Russia’s longtime top Latin American military and trading partners. While Venezuela is China’s biggest investment in Latin America. The Eastern nations will likely do whatever they can to protect their asset.