US national security adviser John Bolton says that Washington could impose sanctions on any international company for conducting business with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
“We are sending a signal to third parties that want to do business with the Maduro regime: proceed with extreme caution,” Bolton said in a summit on Venezuela in the Peruvian capital Lima on Tuesday.
The measure means that international companies will have to choose whether to access the US and its financial system or do business with Maduro, he noted.
His remarks came a day after US President Donald Trump issued an executive order, blocking “all property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela that are in the United States.”
Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry strongly censured the US move as “another serious aggression by Trump administration through arbitrary economic terrorism against the Venezuelan people.”
According to Peruvian officials, Bolton said that the new measure equates to about tripling current sanctions related to Venezuela.
Venezuelans are suffering from a lack of basic necessities under US sanctions. According to United Nations statistics, a quarter of Venezuela’s 30-million-strong population is in need of humanitarian aid.
Washington has imposed several rounds of sanctions against the oil-rich country to oust Maduro and replace him with opposition figure Juan Guaido, who declared himself “interim president” earlier this year.
The Trump administration had also earlier confiscated Venezuela’s state oil assets based in the US to channel them to Guaido.
Since May, the government of Maduro has engaged in negotiations with the opposition in a bid to resolve sharp political differences.
Maduro said earlier last month that he was certain a peace agreement would be reached until the end of the year.