Trump administration tightens squeeze on Venezuela's oil sector

Trump administration tightens squeeze on Venezuela's oil sector
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The Trump administration sought to constrict Venezuela's oil sector even further Tuesday by designating four oil companies that continue to operate in Venezuela for penalties.

As a result of the actions by the Treasury Department, the four companies' properties in the U.S. will be reported to Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Three of the companies identified in a release from the Treasury Department were based in Panama, and a fourth was based in Cyprus.

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OFAC also identified four transport vessels as blocked property owned by the designated entities. The four vessels have been transporting oil and petroleum products from Venezuela to Cuba, according to the Treasury Department. 

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the latest sanctions would put more pressure on Cuban interests seeking to aid Venezuela leader Nicolás Maduro.

“The United States continues to take strong action against the former illegitimate Maduro regime and the malign foreign actors who support it," Munchin said in a press release.

"Maduro’s Cuban benefactors provide a lifeline to the regime and enable its repressive security and intelligence apparatus. Venezuela’s oil belongs to the Venezuelan people, and should not be used as a bargaining tool to prop up dictators and prolong the usurpation of Venezuelan democracy,” he said.

Separately, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE in a speech at the United Nations railed against Venezuela, taking aim at its socialist economic system