Aug 6, 2019

Trump expands Venezuela sanctions to total economic embargo

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro at a meeting with EU officials in Caracas, Venezuela, in July. Photo: Matias Delacroix/Getty Images

President Trump issued an executive order on Monday that expands existing U.S. sanctions against Venezuela to include a total economic embargo against the country.

Why it matters: The action to freeze assets places Venezuela on a par with North Korea, Iran, Syria and Cuba, the only other countries now under such stringent U.S. sanctions, notes the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news. The order means Americans are now banned from doing business with the Venezuelan government.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the order and further context.

Go deeper: The grand fall of Venezuelan oil

Go deeper

Embargo on Venezuela pits U.S. against China and Russia

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House national security adviser John Bolton declared in a speech Tuesday morning that the embargo on Venezuela announced Monday night will deny President Nicolás Maduro the funds he needs to sustain his regime.

Why it matters: It has been six months since the U.S. recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president, and three months since a U.S.-supported coup attempt on Maduro failed. The drastic new steps are an attempt to regain momentum — but they will inflame tensions with Russia and China, allies of Maduro who receive shipments of Venezuelan oil as a form of debt repayment.

Go deeperArrowAug 6, 2019

U.S. embargo on Venezuela raises stakes for Russia and China

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro speaking in Caracas. Photo: Matias Delacroix/Getty Images)

In the absence of a foreign policy victory in Venezuela, President Trump's economic embargo on the country shows his sights resettling on the prospect of regime change.

The big picture: Despite Washington's anointment of Juan Guaidó as the country's democratically elected leader and its tightening asset freeze on government property, regime change remains a high hurdle. Behind the administration's recent move is the untested wager that the renewed threat of extraterritorial sanctions against Venezuela's trade partners China and Russia could erode their support for President Nicolás Maduro.

Go deeperArrowAug 7, 2019

Venezuela's Maduro regime in secret talks with U.S. on free elections: WSJ

Diosdado Cabello, who heads Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly, with President Nicolás Maduro. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

U.S. officials are in secret talks with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's top aides for him to step down and enable free elections in the country, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Axios' Jonathan Swan reported Sunday that talks were taking place.

Details: Key Maduro regime figures are trying to negotiate for safety guarantees in order for elections to take place, according to WSJ. Senior Maduro representatives have offered opposition negotiators the possibility of a presidential election in the coming months, WSJ reports.

Go deeperArrowAug 22, 2019