The Trump administration will sanction Venezuela‘s state-owned oil firm, a move the White House has long put off for fear that it would raise oil prices and hurt American refiners.
The move comes after a turbulent week for Venezuela that has created a standoff over the country‘s leadership. The sanctions aim to transfer control of Venezuela‘s oil wealth to forces that oppose socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro and deprive the strongman of resources that could prolong his grip on power.
Last week, the opposition leader of Venezuela‘s National Assembly, Juan Guaido, named himself interim president amid street protests. President soon recognized Guaido as the nation‘s leader and his administration has been marshaling international support for the opposition figure since then.
Maduro, having recently started another term after highly disputed elections, is refusing to back down. He is supported by the country‘s minister of defense and Russia.