United States tightening of sanctions on Venezuela could well prove to be counter-productive

The Trump administration had already put in place sanctions targeted at individuals associated with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

Venezuela’s US -based oil subsidiary Citgo, a unit of state oil company PDVSA, will cooperate with local authorities in Houston to distribute the funds, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on state television. “When an American fills his tank at a Citgo gas station, he’ll be contributing to the rebuilding of the affected communities”.

He noted that donations sent to Venezuela in recent months by organizations such as Caritas Chile have not been accepted by the Maduro government.

Arreaza cited a previous program under which Venezuela provided heating fuel to victims of the deadly hurricane Katrina in 2005. Cash-hungry PDVSA approved the deal, leaving American lawmakers concerned that a Russian firm would control roughly five percent of US refining capacity via the buyouts. U.S. President Donald Trump signed the executive order, which prevents American financial institutions from offering new funds to Venezuela or to its state oil company, PDVSA.

View of damages in a supermarket in Valencia, Carabobo State, on May 5, 2017, the day after anti-government protesters looted stores, set fire to cars and clashed with police, leaving at least five people injured, and one dead after being hit in the head by a projectile.

The United States condemns the call by Venezuela’s illegitimate Constituent Assembly for trials of the political opposition, including members of the democratically-elected legislature, on charges of treason and alleged involvement in Venezuela’s economic crisis.

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