U.S. slaps new sanctions on Venezuela
The new economic penalties prevent U.S. nationals and individuals residing in the U.S. from buying debt owed to the government of Venezuela or engaging in financial transactions involving any entity in which the Venezuelan government owns more than a 50 percent share.
Critically, Trump's new executive order prevents U.S. citizens from buying Venezuela's state-owned public assets.
Trump said the new measures are aimed at ensuring Caracas cannot conduct "fire sales" of its "critical assets".
"This money belongs to the Venezuelan people," Trump said in a statement. "We call for the Maduro regime to restore democracy, hold free and fair elections, release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and end the repression and economic deprivation of the Venezuelan people."
Venezuela continues to grapple with a widening economic crisis that has led to political instability, massive protests and food shortages.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro won a second term in office on Sunday, election officials announced, amid claims of vote-rigging.
Maduro won some 5.8 million votes, or 68 percent of the total, said Tibisay Lucena, head of the National Electoral Council.
Lucena said main opposition candidate Henri Falcon won 1.8 million votes, or 21.2 percent. ■