On September 24, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned four companies that operate in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy. Additionally, OFAC identified four vessels that transport oil and other petroleum products from Venezuela to Cuba as blocked property owned or controlled by the four designated entities.
“The United States continues to take strong action against the illegitimate Maduro regime and the malign foreign actors who support it,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement. “Maduro’s Cuban benefactors provide a lifeline to the regime and enable its repressive security and intelligence apparatus.”
This marks the latest round of sanctions as the U.S. targets the Maduro regime’s ties with Cuba, which supports him.
Since the January 28, 2019 sanction of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), Cubametales, the Cuban state-run oil import and export company, and other Cuba-based entities have continued to circumvent sanctions by receiving oil shipments from Venezuela.
On July 3, OFAC sanctioned Cubametales for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy. These actions further target Venezuela’s oil sector and the mechanisms used to transport oil to Maduro’s Cuban benefactors, who continue to provide a lifeline to the illegitimate regime.
“Venezuela’s oil belongs to the Venezuelan people, and should not be used as a bargaining tool to prop up dictators and prolong the usurpation of Venezuelan democracy,” said Mnuchin.
The U.S. government has sanctioned the following companies:
· Caroil Transport Marine Ltd. is based in Cyprus, and operates three vessels: Carlota C, Sandino, and Petion.
· Trocana World Inc. is based in Panama and is the registered owner of Petion.
· Tovase Development Corp is based in Panama and is the registered owner of Sandino.
· Bluelane Overseas SA is based in Panama and is the registered owner of Giralt — a crude oil tanker that recently delivered Venezuelan oil to Cuba.
These companies will have any U.S.-based assets frozen and are prohibited from using the American financial system or doing business in the United States, barring them from much of the global financial system.
These sanctions are not necessarily permanent, as the U.S. has made clear that the removal of sanctions is available for those who take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order, refuse to take part in human rights abuses, speak out against abuses committed by the Maduro regime, and combat corruption in Venezuela.