The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday sanctioned a Moscow-based bank owned jointly by Russian and Venezuelan state companies in a bid to step up pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s embattled regime.
“All property or interests of Evrofinance Mosnarbank, as well as entities owned by it in the United States or controlled by U.S. citizens, are blocked.
“The bank was targeted for supporting the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, a vehicle for corruption, embezzlement, and money laundering by Maduro and his cronies,’’ the statement added.
According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, this action demonstrates that the U.S. will take action against foreign financial institutions that sustain the illegitimate Maduro regime.
Mr Mnuchin said Mr Maduro contributed to the economic collapse and humanitarian crisis plaguing the people of Venezuela.
Venezuela’s self-declared interim president, Juan Guaido, meanwhile, asked the National Assembly, which he heads, to declare a national emergency over a power blackout that has persisted since Thursday.
Electricity has been restored only in parts of Caracas, while the outage also affects other regions.
The daily El Nacional reported that Caracas authorities were deploying buses to replace the underground, which was not functioning.
The blackout has also led to water and fuel shortages, school classes remained suspended, while looting was reported in some parts of the Caracas district.
According to El Nacional, the power outage has also affected many hospitals.
Mr Guaido said it had led to 17 deaths, without giving details on how those people died.