President Trump addresses the UN on sanctions

President Trump has given his first address to the UN General Assembly, in which he made several comments relating to sanctions. He again criticised the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran, describing it as “an embarrassment to the US” and creating further uncertainty about the deal’s future. World leaders have called on President Trump not to undermine the deal, which enjoys near-universal support among UN Member States.

The President also said that he would not lift the US trade embargo on Cuba until Cuba made “fundamental reforms”. In June, President Trump reinstated some of the sanctions on Cuba that were lifted by President Obama (see previous blog), chilling a relationship that had begun to thaw under the previous administration. In addition, he warned that the US was prepared to take further action against the administration of President Maduro of Venezuela, which the US describes as a dictatorship (see previous blog).

Venezuela’s rival legislature votes to prosecute supporters of US sanctions

Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly, which was set up by the Maduro government as a rival legislature to the country’s democratically elected National Assembly, has voted to investigate and prosecute anyone deemed to be a supporter of US sanctions against Maduro’s administration on charges of treason. Members of the Constituent Assembly accused opposition politicians of supporting the sanctions, which were substantially expanded in the past week (see previous blog).

US imposes new sanctions on Venezuela’s government

The US has imposed wide-ranging new financial sanctions on President Maduro’s administration in Venezuela. The US accuses Maduro’s government of depriving Venezuelans of food and medicine, imprisoning the democratically-elected opposition, and violently suppressing freedom of speech. Most recently, President Maduro created a rival legislature and transferred to it the powers of the democratically elected National Assembly (see previous blog).

The new sanctions prohibit dealings in new debt and equity issued by the government of Venezuela and its state oil company.  They also prohibit dealings in certain existing bonds owned by the Venezuelan public sector ad dividend payments to the government of Venezuela.  To mitigate harm to the American and Venezuelan people, the US Treasury has issued several general licences, including for financing most commercial trade, 30-day wind-down periods, and the financing of humanitarian goods.

The White House’s press release is here, and the relevant executive order and general licences are here.

US sanctions Venezuelan officials, including previous President’s brother

The US has added 9 people to its SDN List for being involved in organising or otherwise supporting the creation of Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly, a rival body to Venezuela’s parliament with the power to rewrite the country’s constitution (see previous blog). The US views the Constituent Assembly as illegitimate, and designed “to further entrench [President Maduro’s] dictatorship”.

Among those designated are Adan Chavez, a high ranking official in the Constituent Assembly and brother of deceased former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and Bladimir Lugo Armas, a Commander in Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard who is said to have been responsible for violence against Venezuelan parliamentarians. The US Treasury’s press release is here, and details of Nicolas Maduro’s listing are here.

US sanctions Venezuelan President

The US Treasury has today added President Maduro to its Venezuela SDN list (details here), alleging that Venezuela’s president has attempted to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela.  This means that all his personal assets subject to US jurisdiction are frozen and all Americans are prohibited from dealing with him.

US sanctions on Venezuela

The US said it would impose “strong and swift” sanctions on Venezuela if President Nicolás Maduro carried out his plan to create a “constituent assembly”, which would rival the National Assembly and could rewrite the country’s constitution. The new US sanctions target 13 current and former senior officials of the government of Venezuela, including the President of the Maduro-controlled National Electoral Council, Venezuela’s Minister of Justice (also the subject of a US indictment for participation in international cocaine distribution), and the National Director of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Police.

US Treasury press release, and details of the new listings are here.

US considers new sanctions on Venezuela

President Trump has said that the US will impose “strong and swift” sanctions on Venezuela if its president Nicolás Maduro carries out his plan to create a “constituent assembly”, which could rewrite the country’s constitution. It is reported that the White House is considering a number of possible new sanctions, including banning imports of Venezuelan oil, listing more government officials, and cutting diplomatic ties.

US sanctions 8 judges on Venezuela’s Supreme Court

The US has sanctioned the President of Venezuela’s Supreme Court and 7 of its other judges. U.S. officials said the sanctions were a response to an incident in March in which the Supreme Court annulled Venezuela’s democratically elected National Assembly, which is controlled by Venezuela’s opposition party.

The sanctions freeze their assets, and prohibit US persons from doing business with them.  In the US Treasury’s press release, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that “the United States is supporting the Venezuelan people in their efforts to protect and advance democratic governance in their country”.  The details of the listings are here.