White House National Security adviser John Bolton has threatened sanctions against foreign banks dealing with the socialist regime in Venezuela, as the Trump administration steps up its efforts to remove dictator Nicolás Maduro from power.
In a statement, Bolton announced that the U.S. would start examining foreign financial institutions to determine whether they provide serves with the Maduro regime. American institutions are already prohibited from dealing with the regime in any capacity.
“The United States is putting foreign financial institutions on notice that they will face sanctions for being involved in facilitating illegitimate transactions that benefit Nicolas Maduro and his corrupt network,” it continued. “We will not allow Maduro to steal the wealth of the Venezuelan people.”
Bolton also reiterated the U.S.’s support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who was appointed in January as the country’s legitimate president by the Venezuelan National Assembly, a move that has since been recognized by Washington and the majority of western governments.
“The United States strongly supports the democratic transition in Venezuela led by Interim President Juan Guaido and the National Assembly and is pursuing several new diplomatic and economic initiatives in support of that transition,” the statement continued.
This week, Guaidó returned to Venezuela following a trip to Colombia to discuss the country’s ongoing political, economic, and humanitarian crisis with other regional leaders. On Tuesday, he called for further demonstrations against the regime this weekend, urging supporters to let Maduro know that the “pressure has barely begun.”
In an interview with Fox Business on Tuesday, Bolton confirmed that White House is still considering imposing a fresh round of sanctions on the regime, having already imposed multiple economic sanctions on senior regime officials and the country’s vital state oil industry.
“Economic sanctions that have already been imposed on Venezuela are crippling the oil economy, which has always been its major source of revenue,” Bolton said. “We’re looking at new sanctions, new measures, to tighten our grip on Maduro’s financial wherewithal, to deny his regime the money that they need to stay in power.”