The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has recently sanctioned 13 Venezuelan individuals alleged to be involved in human rights abuses and corruption. According to the Trump Administration, the new sanctions were imposed in part to pressure the Venezuelan government not to proceed with a proposed rewrite of the Venezuelan Constitution and, in part, to deter other government officials from participating in the upcoming election of a new constituent assembly to rewrite the Constitution. Importantly, the sanctions designations include one current and one former officer of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), the Venezuelan state oil company. The designation of individuals linked to PDVSA may signal the Trump Administration’s increased willingness to target the core of Venezuela’s petroleum-based economy and, depending on the upcoming events in the Venezuelan political environment, may result in further sanctions in the coming months.

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