WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration is imposing sanctions on 13 senior officials of Venezuela’s government, military and state oil company PDVSA on Wednesday, U.S. officials said, seeking to ratchet up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to scrap plans for a controversial new congress.
The United States decided to target individuals for alleged human rights abuses and corruption, while sparing the country for now from broader financial or “sectoral” sanctions against its vital oil industry – though such actions, the officials told Reuters, are still under consideration.
The move is aimed at showing Maduro’s socialist government that U.S. President Donald Trump is prepared to make good on his threat of “strong and swift economic actions” if it goes ahead with plans for a vote on Sunday to establish an assembly that critics say will cement Maduro as dictator, the officials said.
The U.S. Treasury Department will issue a sanctions announcement later on Wednesday, they said.
Reporting By Matt Spetalnick; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Paul Simao