Washington: US Treasury department has sanctioned four maritime shipping companies and nine of their oil tankers over crude deliveries to Cuba in an attempt to pressure Havana to end support for Venezuela’s former President Nicolas Maduro.
The sanctions raise US pressure on the “the illegitimate regime of former President Nicolas Maduro,” the Treasury said in a statement on Friday.
“We continue to target companies that transport Venezuelan oil to Cuba, as they are profiting while the Maduro regime pillages natural resources,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.
“Venezuela’s oil belongs to the Venezuelan people and should not be used as a bargaining tool to prop up dictators and prolong oppression.” Mnuchin said that since losing popular support, Maduro has been relying on the support of Cuba’s military and intelligence services to remain in power.
Venezuela is suffering an economic collapse and humanitarian crisis including shortages of basic food and medicine and the exodus of millions of people.
The US sanctions targeted three Liberian shipping corporations and one based in Italy. Of the nine tankers penalised, four had delivered Venezuelan crude to Cuba.
The sanctions freeze US-based assets of the company and also block them from much of the global financial system.