Vice President Mike Pence on Friday announced sanctions on ships of Venezuela’s state oil company and companies that link it to key ally Cuba. The US hopes that the sanctions would help to cut off lifelines for President Nicolas Maduro who has faced stiff opposition from President Donald Trump.
The latest measures are part of Trump administration’s efforts to dethrone Maduro, a leftist firebrand who has nonetheless held on to power for more than two months, and vowed further pressure on Cuba.
“Venezuela’s oil belongs to the Venezuelan people,” Pence said in a speech at Rice University in Houston.
“Those looking on should know this: All options are on the table. And Nicolas Maduro would do well not to test the resolve of the United States of America,” he said.
“The United States will continue to exert all diplomatic and economic pressure to bring about a peaceful transition to democracy,” he said.