Published: Wed, January 30, 2019
Money | By Bruce West

U.S. imposes sanctions on Venezuela state oil firm PDVSA

U.S. imposes sanctions on Venezuela state oil firm PDVSA

Maduro's government accuses the US and others of launching an "economic war" against Venezuela, blaming it for most of the country's problems.

In separate but nearly simultaneous comments, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman declined to comment when asked whether Russian Federation would send military aid if the US military gets involved in the crisis in Venezuela.

He said more than 850 people were detained between January 21 and 26, including 77 children, some as young as 12.

Guaido said on Tuesday he did not underestimate the threat of imprisonment but did not believe it was "anything new".

Opposition leaders have called for anti-government demonstrations this week.

"Maduro has created an economic, political and humanitarian crisis".

In Monday's statement, the Treasury also declared that the path to sanctions relief is "through the expeditious transfer of control to the Interim President or a subsequent, democratically elected government". However, the Supreme Court is loyal to Maduro and is expected to quickly open the investigation.

Lavrov said the sanctions amounted to an attempt by the U.S.to confiscate Venezuelan state assets.

Until now, President Donald Trump had held off on targeting Venezuela's vital oil sector.

The United States has condemned the Venezuelan election, in which Maduro won another term, as a charade that was neither free nor fair.

The Trump administration had long held off targeting Venezuela's oil sector for fear that it would hurt USA refiners and raise oil prices for Americans. He said one member of the Bolivarian Guard was reportedly killed in the state of Monagas.

When asked if the USA had plans to intervene amid the unrest, Trump said of Venezuela, "We're not considering anything, but all options are on the table", CBS News reported.

Western Canada is the third-largest supplier behind Mexico and Venezuela to the U.S. Gulf Coast region but it is "plagued by egress and policy challenges", RBC said. Brent crude futures surged 2.9% to $61.7 per barrel Tuesday morning on the news, while West Texas Intermediate futures rose 3.4% to $53.9 per barrel.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said that the USA sanctions against PDVSA amounted to illegal interference in Venezuela's internal affairs, and that Russian Federation would use all the legal mechanisms at its disposal to protect its interests there.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the new sanctions "violate all possible global norms" and show a course toward regime change in embattled Venezuela.

Venezuela is very reliant on the USA for its oil revenue.

The poll, conducted by Hinterlaces in early January 2019, found that "86 percent of Venezuelans would disagree with global military intervention".

Mr Maduro remains in control of the country because of support from the military, despite massive protests against his Government amid an economic crisis that has caused millions to flee the country.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said historical experience showed foreign interference "only makes situations more complicated".

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