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Focus on Regulation

In Shot Across the Bow, U.S. Sanctions Venezuela’s Maduro

One day after the Venezuelan government held elections for a Constituent Assembly that the United States has asserted is aimed at rewriting the national constitution, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro.  Last week, OFAC designated 13 current and former Venezuelan government officials ahead of the Constituent Assembly. See more here.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in statement that additional Venezuelan officials “could be exposed to future U.S. sanctions for their role in undermining democratic processes and institutions in Venezuela.” The Administration is reported to be considering imposing oil-based sanctions against Venezuela, and Administration officials have said that they are considering all options. At the same time, the Administration has said that it does not want to take actions that hurt the Venezuelan people.

As a result of this action, all assets of Nicolas Maduro subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, and U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with him. They are not, by virtue of the Maduro designation, prohibited from dealing with other, non-designated individuals in the Venezuelan government. OFAC’s action was taken pursuant to Executive Order 13692, which authorizes sanctions against current or former officials of the Government of Venezuela and others undermining democracy in Venezuela.