Trump admin imposes fresh sanctions targeting Cuba, Venezuelan oil industry

The Trump administration announced Friday a fresh wave of sanctions against Venezuela, targeting the country's state-owned oil company in an effort to pressure embattled President Nicolás Maduro.

Vice President Pence said during a speech in Houston that the administration will sanction 34 vessels owned or operated by Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), as well as two companies that transport Venezuelan crude oil to Cuba.

"Venezuela’s oil belongs to the Venezuelan people," Pence said.


The vice president portrayed the latest sanctions as part of an ongoing effort to pressure Maduro to give up power peacefully. The administration has doled out sanctions against members of Maduro's inner circle, targeted PDVSA with penalties earlier this year and attempted to send humanitarian aid to the country.

"Those who are looking on should know in the midst of all these actions, as President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE has made clear, all options are on the table," Pence said. "We will not stand idly by while the Venezuelan people suffer under dictatorship and oppression. And Nicolás Maudro would do well not to test the resolve of the United States of America."

Maduro has hung on to power as Venezuela faces a worsening economic and humanitarian crisis. The U.S. led a coalition of nations earlier this year in recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country's legitimate president.

Officials in the Trump administration have accused Cuba of propping up the Maduro regime, pointing specifically to Havana's ties to the Venezuelan oil industry.

"Cuba continues to profit from, and prop up, the illegitimate Maduro regime through oil-for-repression schemes as they attempt to keep Maduro in power," Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks Katie Porter in heated exchange with Mnuchin: 'You're play-acting to be a lawyer' MORE said in a statement Friday. "The United States remains committed to a transition to democracy in Venezuela and to holding the Cuban regime accountable for its direct involvement in Venezuela’s demise."