WASHINGTON / CARACAS (Reuters) – The US imposed sanctions on three Venezuelans and 20 drug traffickers on Monday to increase pressure on socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
Of the newly sanctioned companies, 1
"Systemic corruption and a collapse of the rule of law are defining features of the Venezuelan government," said US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
"We will deny Corruption officials of the Venezuelan regime access to the US financial system while we work with international partners to help the Venezuelan people restore democracy and return to prosperity."
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is ready to discuss the sanctions in a speech to the Organization of American States on Monday, said a pence advisor.
Pence is also expected to call for a delay in the presidential elections in Venezuela, said the adviser.
The Venezuelan Ministry of Information did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Maduro, who himself was subject to sanctions last year, regularly laughs at Washington's disapproval and blames the US "empire" for his country's economic woes, saying it's trying to undermine its government.
Pence has previously called on the international community to increase pressure on Maduro, who blames the US for a deep recession and hyperinflation in Venezuela, which has caused food and drug shortages and a flood of migrants to neighboring countries.
U.S. The government of President Donald Trump has already imposed some financial and individual sanctions on the government of Maduro, accusing senior officials of human rights violations and corruption.
The Trump government has also weighed new oil sanctions against a Venezuelan oil service company and insurance cover for Venezuelan oil tankers.
Oil prices rose to their highest level since the end of 2014 on Monday, helped by new problems for the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA [PDVSA.UL] and a looming decision on whether the US will impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
Cut by Jonathan Oatis and Rosalba O & Brien