US considering some sanctions on Venezuela oil sector, sources say

CNBC-01President Donald Trump’s administration is considering imposing some U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s vital oil sector in response to Sunday’s election of a constitutional super-body that Washington has already denounced as a “sham” vote, U.S. officials said.

The measures, which could be announced as early as Monday, are not expected to include a ban on Venezuelan oil shipments to the United States — one of the harshest options — but could block sale of lighter U.S. crude that Venezuela mixes with its heavy crude and then exports, the officials told Reuters.

While no final decisions have been made, the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the United States could also sanction further senior Venezuelan officials. But the timing of any new sanctions, which were imposed on 13 Venezuela figures last week, remained uncertain. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.