The Trump administration prepares new sanctions on Cuba for its support of the leader of the Venezuelan regime, Nicolás Maduro, and is "reviewing in more detail" the role that Russia plays for the Maduro regime to remain in power, said the representative United States Special on Venezuela, Elliott Abrams.
(Also read: Will the US blockade of Venezuela push Nicolás Maduro down?)
Trump's frustration over the failure of his "maximum pressure" campaign for Maduro to leave power has led his foreign policy advisors to prepare new measures and pressure European and Latin American countries to impose tougher sanctions on Venezuela, he said. a second high-ranking government official on condition of anonymity.RELATED
Abrams said that Washington believes that Cuba and Russia are providing a lifeguard to Maduro, nine months after the Trump administration and dozens of other countries decided not to recognize the socialist leader as the legitimate president of Venezuela and instead endorse the opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
We are always looking for ways to pressure (Cuba) because we do not see any improvement in their behavior or with respect to Venezuela or human rights internally
"We are always looking for ways to pressure (Cuba) because we do not see any improvement in their behavior or with respect to Venezuela or human rights internally," Abrams said in an interview at his State Department office. The sanctions against Cuba that are being considered, and are expected for "the next few weeks," are likely to target the tourism sector and cut off the supply of oil that Venezuela delivers to Havana based on a blacklist of tankers used to transport supplies. , said the source.
The president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, has not ruled against possible new sanctions.
(You may be interested: The United States aims with new sanctions on ties between Cuba and Venezuela)
While Washington's sanctions on Cuba derive from accusations that it provides training, weapons and intelligence to Maduro's security forces, targeting Russia is largely due to its financial support for Caracas.
Oil giant Rosneft has helped Venezuela market its crude since Washington imposed sanctions on state oil company PDVSA in January. When asked if Washington is preparing sanctions against Rosneft, Abrams said the government is "watching Rosneft more closely for its support of the regime," but declined to specify entities or individuals.
In early August, Washington froze the assets of the Venezuelan government in the United States and threatened "secondary sanctions" to any company related to Maduro, in a new pressure escalation that was estimated to point to Rosneft. Abrams said that Washington is now trying to "give names" and that new sanctions are expected for individuals in the next three months.
We can't afford to improvise
But US officials recognize caution about targeting a company as far-reaching as Rosneft for its ties to Venezuela. "We cannot afford to improvise," said the senior White House official, emphasizing that he was not specifically referring to Rosneft. "If it is a company that is only doing business in Venezuela, one could act. But when it comes to entities that have multiple components, we have to be thorough."
The Trump administration also recognizes the risk of adding pressure to the relationship between the United States and Russia, strained by geopolitical disagreements on issues such as Syria, Ukraine and arms control.