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Trump expands Venezuela sanctions into embargo

The Hill logo The Hill 06/08/2019 Zack Budryk
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President Trump announced an executive order Monday night expanding sanctions against Venezuela into a full economic embargo.

The executive order signed Monday freezes all assets of President Nicolás Maduro's government and bars transactions with it without specific exemptions, the first such action against a Western government in decades. The only other countries subject to such sanctions are North Korea, Iran, Syria and Cuba, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"I have determined that it is necessary to block the property of the Government of Venezuela in light of the continued usurpation of power by the illegitimate Nicolas Maduro regime," Trump said in a letter to the House of Representatives and Senate that accompanied the executive order.

Nicolas Maduro wearing a suit and tie: Trump expands Venezuela sanctions into embargo © The Hill Trump expands Venezuela sanctions into embargo

The letter also cites "the regime's human rights abuses, arbitrary arrest and detention of Venezuelan citizens, curtailment of free press, and ongoing attempts to undermine Interim President Juan Guaido of Venezuela and the democratically-elected Venezuelan National Assembly."

A woman walks next to a sign that reads in Spanish "Trump, Unblock Venezuela," a reference to the Venezuelan government view that U.S. sanctions, aimed at toppling President Nicolas Maduro, are driving the country's economic problems, at the Sao Paulo Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, July 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Leonardo Fernandez) © ASSOCIATED PRESS A woman walks next to a sign that reads in Spanish "Trump, Unblock Venezuela," a reference to the Venezuelan government view that U.S. sanctions, aimed at toppling President Nicolas Maduro, are driving the country's economic problems, at the Sao Paulo Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, July 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Leonardo Fernandez)

The U.S. in January formally recognized Guaidó as the nation's interim leader, followed by more than 50 other nations. However, the opposition has yet to successfully topple Maduro despite U.S. backing. In a leaked recording in June, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confessed that keeping the opposition united had been "devilishly difficult."

Carlos Vecchio, Venezuela's opposition ambassador to the U.S. speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Tuesday, July 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Carlos Vecchio, Venezuela's opposition ambassador to the U.S. speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Tuesday, July 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

"The moment Maduro leaves, everybody's going to raise their hands and [say], 'Take me, I'm the next president of Venezuela.' It would be forty-plus people who believe they're the rightful heir to Maduro," Pompeo said in a recording from a closed-door meeting obtained by The Washington Post.

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