US sanctions on Venezuelan oil reverberate globally

Venezuela's Guaido expresses concern over Greek position | News

On Monday, the administration slapped sanctions on state-owned oil company PDVSA that effectively block Maduro from exporting crude to the U.S.

Venezuela is in the middle of a power struggle, as socialist dictator Maduro is trying to fend off opposition leader Juan Guaido to maintain control of the nation.

The measures against state-owned PDVSA were presented as a way of preventing the leftist strongman from looting the coffers in his economically ruined country before he is replaced by the man Washington says is the rightful interim president - opposition leader Juan Guaido.

PDVSA responded to the sanctions by ordering customers with tankers waiting to load crude destined for the United States to prepay, according to three sources with knowledge of the decision.

Even though the Venezuelan military has shown no sign of abandoning Maduro, Bolton said: "Our assessment based on numerous contacts on the ground is that the rank and file of the Venezuelan military is acutely aware of the desperate economic conditions in the country and we think they look for ways to support the National Assembly government".

Pompeo determined that Guaido has authority over the nation's accounts at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY and any other US -insured banks, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.

If Maduro doesn't comply with this demand, the European Union said it "will take further actions, including on the issue of recognition of the country's leadership in line with article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution".

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Donald Trump's administration quickly stated that they recognised Guadio as interim president, followed by more than 20 other countries including Brazil and Canada.

Storchak said Venezuela owes Russian Federation $3 billion, with repayments twice a year of around $100 million, with the next due in March.

Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference. Such prepayment could be in violation of the sanctions, setting the stage for a standoff at the ports.

Traders at some major US hedge funds said their lawyers advised them not to touch the bonds for now without further guidance from Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Mexico and Iraq are instead most likely to benefit in the race to replace Venezuela heavy crude imported for processing at refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, analysts at RBC Capital Markets said in a report. He also pledged to retaliate, but did not announce any specific measures.

He also moved to set up new boards of directors for Citgo and PDVSA, which could allow his parallel government to collect money held in escrow accounts in the United States.

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