United States’ national security adviser John Bolton told Reuters TV this week that President Donald Trump wants to cut off revenues to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and is considering imposing sanctions on companies from other countries that do business with the South American country.
“We’re moving exactly in that direction,” Bolton said when asked whether Trump would consider what are known as “secondary sanctions.”
“We are even now looking at a series of additional steps we could take,” Bolton said in the interview.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has been supported by the United States and a number of other Western countries. In January this year, Guaido declared himself interim president of the country by invoking the constitution and argued that the re-election of Maduro was not legitimate.
For OPEC member Venezuela, oil accounts for 90 per cent of export revenue. In January, sanction on PDVSA, the state-owned oil company of Venezuela, was imposed by the United States. According to the sanctions, U.S. companies are now not allowed to do business with the Venezuelan oil major unless the revenues were directed to a fund available to Guaido.
Companies from other companies that have business relations with PDSVA have not yet been slapped with sanctions by the Trump administration. However, Trump’s Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams said earlier on Friday that there are “conversations” going on between U.S. officials and oil trading houses and governments across the world so that the scale of business transactions with Maduro is scaled down.
Maduro is supported by Russia and China. Maduro has alleged that Guaido is a puppet of Washington. Maduro still has control of state functions and the loyalty of the country’s military.
There were no concerns about the fears that efforts to oust Maduro was losing momentum, Bolton said.
“I can tell you there’s a lot going on beneath the surface. The opposition is in constant contact with large numbers of admirals and other supporters within the Maduro administration,” Bolton said.
“It’s a struggle against an authoritarian government and it’s obviously going to take some time,” he said.
Bolton said that with the aim of addressing Russia’s growing military presence in Venezuela, a number of options were being looked at by Trump which also includes sanctions.
“We’re not afraid to use the phrase ‘Monroe Doctrine’ in this administration,” Bolton said. He said that in reference to the 1823 policy that was established by then-President James, which is seen widely in Latin America as a justification for the armed intervention in the region by the US.
“And one of the purposes of the Monroe Doctrine was to prevent foreign interference and even recolonization,” Bolton said.
“If you look at the presence of Cuban and Russian forces in Venezuela, you have to ask when will the people of Venezuela get to choose their government rather than foreigners?” he said.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)