The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has added sanctions against two shipping companies that recently have used their vessels to transport oil for Venezuela’s national oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA).
PdVSA was added to OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List when the Trump administration took action against the illegitimate regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Cuba has given economic support to the Maduro regime by accepting oil shipments from PdVSA.
“Cuba has been an underlying force fueling Venezuela’s descent into crisis,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin in a statement. “Treasury is taking action against vessels and entities transporting oil, providing a lifeline to keep the illegitimate Maduro regime afloat.”
According to Treasury, Cuba remains a major importer of crude oil from Venezuela, and in return, “sends assistance to Venezuela in the form of political advisors, intelligence and military officials, and medical professionals, all of whom are used to ensure Maduro’s hold on power and complete social control over the people of Venezuela.”
OFAC has previously identified another 34 vessels as blocked property of PdVSA.
U.S. business transactions with these companies and their vessels are generally prohibited, while the sanctions remain in place against the Maduro regime.