New Round of Sanctions: Trump Orders Freezing Venezuelan Government’s Assets in the US

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, signed on Monday an executive order that freezes all the assets of the Government of Venezuela in his country and prohibits transactions with it, a measure that significantly increases the pressure against Caracas and represents another step towards a total embargo. “All assets and interests owned by the government of Venezuela that are in the United States […] are blocked and cannot be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn or otherwise treated,” says the executive order, which will enter into force immediately.

The document details that the term ‘Government of Venezuela’ includes the State and the Government of Venezuela; to “any political subdivision, agency or instrument” thereof, including the Central Bank of Venezuela and the state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), as well as to any person under its control or who “has acted or intended to act directly or indirectly” on behalf of any of the above.

The order justifies the passage by the supposed “usurpation” of the power by the legitimate Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro Moros, and by “the human rights abuses” that, according to them, occur in the Latin American country. However, it does not reach the category of total commercial embargo, but it represents the most radical measure of Washington against Caracas since the Trump Administration recognized opposition Juan Guaidó as president in charge of Venezuela last January.

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According to RT , the decision places the Caribbean nation at the same level as North Korea, Iran, Syria and Cuba, the only countries currently facing such severe restrictions from the United States. The previous sanctions were directed, first, against the oil industry of the South American nation, the main source of its export earnings.
This is the first time in 30 years that the United States freezes the assets of a western country. Media say the measure is a “prelude” to the sanctions announced by Washington on Tuesday at the International Conference for Democracy in Venezuela, organized by the Lima Group. US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Monday that he will detail “broad” measures that will have “many potential consequences.” The meeting will be attended by 59 countries and three international organizations: the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), CAF-Development Bank of Latin America and the European Union. Bolton also warned China and Russia that continued support for the Venezuelan regime “could affect the payment of its debt after the fall of Maduro.”

Economic blockade and theft on a planetary scale

The US president said last Thursday that he could order a naval blockade or a quarantine in Venezuela. In response, the Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, Samuel Moncada, described the threats of the United States against Caracas as “illegal” and “criminal”, and pointed out that the authorities in the country demand that “Trump’s war against Venezuela stop.”

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“The economic blockade and theft on a planetary scale have characteristics of monstrous cruelty, typical of war crimes,” said the senior Venezuelan diplomat during his speech at the UN Security Council.
Maduro, who denounced the “illegal and criminal threat” of the US president, called on the population to resist. “Prepared for a battle if they want a quarantine against Venezuela, prepared all and all, but nobody blockades Venezuela and much less a quarantine,” he said.

Content of the executive order:

Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2019
EXECUTIVE ORDER

– – – – – – –
BLOCKING PROPERTY OF THE GOVERNMENT OF VENEZUELA
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 USC 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 USC 1601 et seq .), section 212 (f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 USC 1182 (f)), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, in order to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13692 of March 8, 2015 (Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela), as amended, as relied upon for additional steps taken in subsequent Executive Orders, and in light of the continued usurpation of power by Nicolas Maduro and persons affiliated with him, as well as human rights abuses, including arbitrary or unlawful arrest and detention of Venezuelan citizens, interference with freedom of expression, including for members of the media, and ongoing attempts to undermine Interim President Juan Guaido and the Venezuelan National Assembly’s exercise of legitimate authority in Venezuela, hereby order:
Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.
(b) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt with in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:
(i) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, any person included on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons maintained by the Office of Foreign Assets Control whose property and interests in property are blocked accordingly to this order; or
(ii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked accordingly to this order.
(c) The prohibitions in subsections (a) – (b) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or allow granted prior to the effective date of this order.
Sec. 2.The unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in section 1 (b) of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and entry of such persons into the United States , as immigrants or nonimmigrants, is hereby suspended, except when the Secretary of State determines that the person’s entry would not be contrary to the interests of the United States, including when the Secretary so determines, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General, that the person’s entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives. In exercising this responsibility, the Secretary of State shall consult the Secretary of Homeland Security on matters related to admissibility or inadmissibility within the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security. Such persons shall be treated in the same manner as persons covered by section 1 of Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions). The Secretary of State shall have the responsibility for implementing this section pursuant to such conditions and procedures as the Secretary has established or may establish accordingly to Proclamation 8693. 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions). The Secretary of State shall have the responsibility for implementing this section pursuant to such conditions and procedures as the Secretary has established or may establish accordingly to Proclamation 8693. 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions). The Secretary of State shall have the responsibility for implementing this section pursuant to such conditions and procedures as the Secretary has established or may establish accordingly to Proclamation 8693.
Sec. 3. The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include:
(a) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked compliance to this order; and
(b) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Sec. 4. (a) Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Sec. 5. Nothing in this order shall prohibit:
(a) transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof; or
(b) transactions related to the provision of articles such as food, clothing, and medicine intended to be used to relieve human suffering.
Sec. 6. For the purposes of this order:
(a) the term “person” means an individual or entity;
(b) the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;
(c) the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States; and
(d) the term “Government of Venezuela” includes the state and Government of Venezuela, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of Venezuela and Petroleos de Venezuela, SA (PdVSA), any person owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the foregoing, and any person who has acted or purported to act directly or indirectly for or on behalf of, any of the foregoing, including as a member of the Maduro regime. For the purposes of section 2 of this order, the term «Government of Venezuela» shall not include any United States citizen, any permanent resident alien of the United States, any alien lawfully admitted to the United States, or any alien holding a valid United States visa.
Sec. 7. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked accordingly to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13692, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.
Sec. 8. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including promulgating rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to implement this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may, consistent with applicable law, redelegate any of these functions within the Department of the Treasury. All agencies of the United States Government shall take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.
Sec. 9. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees , or agents, or any other person.
Sec. 10. This order is effective at 9:00 am eastern daylight time on August 5, 2019.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,
August 5, 2019.
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Translated by JRE/EF