WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House said on Tuesday (Aug 6) it would use “every appropriate tool” to end the presidency of Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro after President Donald Trump ordered a freeze on the country’s US-based assets.
“The Maduro dictatorship must end for Venezuela to have a stable, democratic, and prosperous future – free from the horrors of socialism that have ravaged this once great country,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
“As the Trump administration has made clear: all options are on the table. The United States will use every appropriate tool to end Maduro’s hold on Venezuela, support the Venezuelan people’s access to humanitarian assistance, and ensure a democratic transition in Venezuela.”
Trump signed an executive order on Monday that “blocks all property and interests in property” of the Venezuelan government within US jurisdiction, and authorises sanctions “on persons who provide support” for the Maduro regime.
It will also “restrict the entry into the United States of sanctioned persons.
The Wall Street Journal said the move was the first against a Western Hemisphere government in over 30 years, and imposes on Caracas restrictions similar to those faced by North Korea, Iran, Syria and Cuba.
The executive order “directly targets” those who undermine the country’s opposition-controlled legislature, the National Assembly, "or Interim President Juan Guaido,” the statement read.
Crisis-wracked Venezuela has been mired in a political impasse since January when Guaido proclaimed himself acting president, quickly receiving the support of more than 50 countries.
The oil-rich, cash-poor country has been in a deep recession for five years.
Shortages of food and medicine are frequent, and public services are progressively failing.
Around a quarter of Venezuela's 30 million-strong population is in need of aid, according to the United Nations, while 3.3 million people have left the country since the start of 2016.