Just the Facts
Five Facts on the Venezuela Sanctions
By No Labels
August 20, 2019 | Blog
President Trump recently signed an executive order freezing all Venezuelan government assets in the United States. Here are the facts.
The sanctions prohibit trade with both the administration of Venezuelan President Maduro and any entity doing business with the government.
However, the executive order stops short of a full embargo; it is still possible to engage in trade with privately run corporations that have no relationship with Maduro. In placing these sanctions, the White House puts Venezuela on similar footing with Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Cuba.
Monday’s sanctions were Trump’s latest effort to push Maduro out of power.
International actors, including the United Nations and Human Rights Watch, hold Maduro responsible for corruption and numerous human rights abuses,. Venezuelan citizens have found themselves subject to extreme economic hardship and shortages of food and medicine. This spring, opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the president of Venezuela despite Maduro’s victory in elections widely seen as rigged. Over 50 countries, including the United States and most Latin American nations, recognize Guaido as the legitimate leader.
Maduro has shepherded Venezuela into political and economic turmoil.
Since taking office in 2013, international human rights observers have documented violence against peaceful anti-government protestors, extrajudicial killings of political opponents, and a court system rigged in favor of the regime. Maduro has also done little to quell the rampant food and medicine shortages, which are exacerbated by economic hyperinflation. Millions of Venezuelans have fled the country in response. 
Maduro announced that he is halting planned talks with Guaido’s party in response to the sanctions.
In a statement, the Venezuelan government decried the “grave and brutal aggression”against Venezuelan sovereignty. Other international actors have simultaneously condemned both the Maduro government and the recent sanctions. UN Human Rights Commissioner and former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was worried that the sanctions would further reduce dwindling food and medical supplies.
Trump has levied sanctions against Venezuela in the past.
Most recently, the Trump Administration sanctioned major oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A, as well as the national gold industry. Although Maduro has refused to release his grasp on power, there is some indication that the economic situation is forcing his hand. In April, Maduro publicly recognized the crisis for the first time and accepted international aid.