The Trump administration is considering placing sanctions on Venezuelan oil operations in response to President Nicolás Maduro’s controversial reelection bid, Reuters reported Thursday.
A U.S. official told the news outlet that the Trump administration could target Venezuela’s military-run oil services company and restrict insurance coverage for Venezuelan oil shipments.
Maduro, a socialist who was already sanctioned by the U.S. last year, moved up the country’s next election to April. The U.S. and other nations consider the election undemocratic.
The sanctions are reportedly still under discussion, and could be implemented both before and after the election. Officials will consider how the measures would impact Venezuelan citizens, who are already dealing with poverty and malnutrition.
Venezuela was the fourth-largest supplier of crude oil and products to the U.S. in 2017.
The State Department on Saturday issued a statement of support for opposition parties that have rejected Maduro’s call for an April election. Such an election would contradict the country’s constitution, it said.
“A free and fair election should include the full participation of all political parties and political leaders, the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, proper electoral calendar, credible international observation, and an independent electoral authority,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.