07 Mar 2019
The United States is warning banks against facilitating transactions for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his associates as American officials consider a new raft of sanctions against the contested leader.
In a statement published Wednesday, US National Security Advisor John Bolton said that the White House is preparing diplomatic and economic initiatives to support opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom the United States recognized as the official head of state in January following allegations of vote rigging by Maduro.
The Trump administration is “putting foreign financial institutions on notice that they will face sanctions for being involved in facilitating illegitimate transactions that benefit Nicolas Maduro and his corrupt network,” Bolton said in the statement. “We will not allow Maduro to steal the wealth of the Venezuelan people.”
An unnamed senior U.S. administration official told Reuters that the White House had identified efforts by Maduro to work with “complicit” banks to move money out of the country.
The warning follows the disclosure Tuesday by Bolton that the White House’s National Security Council had discussed new sanctions against the country.
Guaido has declared himself the nation’s rightful president under a constitutional provision that requires the National Assembly leader to assume the presidency in a power vacuum.
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