The President of the United States, Donald Trump, signed an executive order on August 5 imposing a total blockade on the properties belonging to the Maduro administration located in U.S. territory. According to Trump, the measure seeks to “end the continued usurpation of power by Maduro’s illegitimate regime.” This is the largest sanction applied by the United States in the Western Hemisphere in the last 30 years. The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry considers the blockade to be “criminal” and that it is intended to “cause an unconstitutional change of government.” National Assembly president Juan Guaidó, praised the executive order saying that this was the consequence of “the arrogance of an non-viable usurpation”. The Trump administration may apply new sanctions in the coming weeks.
The blockade freezes all assets of the Venezuelan government in the United States and prohibits any transactions, such as in the oil and financial sector, for example. The decree also establishes that there are assets that may be exempted, such as those related to humanitarian aid, Internet access, and activities organized by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). President Trump said that “it is a blockade against Maduro’s regime and not against Venezuelans.” The measure also authorizes sanctions to be applied on foreign natural and legal persons providing assistance to Nicolás Maduro.
With this latest development Venezuela joins four other countries subject to similar U.S. sanctions: Syria, North Korea, Iran and Cuba. The Trump administration has also applied other sanctions in recent months to Nicolás Maduro’s associates, such as his wife and collaborators, freezing their funds in the United States and denying them entry to the country.