New economic embargo: Trump freezes all Venezuelan assets in US

The measure also bars transactions with Venezuelan authorities whose assets are blocked

President Trump signed an executive order Monday imposing new sanctions against Venezuela and the government of President Nicolás Maduro, in what amounts to a near-total economic embargo.

The executive order comes the day before Mr Trump's national security adviser John Bolton and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross represent the United States at the International Conference for Democracy in Venezuela.

Russian Federation and China continue to back Maduro, who has called Guaido a puppet of the United States and retains control of most institutions.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday that the new sanctions would choke off Maduro's global financing, and he warned Russian Federation not to provide Venezuela with further support.

Ongoing support for Maduro "could affect repayment of their debt after Maduro falls", Bolton told journalists in Peru on the eve of a summit there on Venezuela's political crisis.

The ban places Maduro's socialist administration alongside a short list of adversaries from Cuba, North Korea, Syria and Iran that have been targeted by such aggressive USA actions.

"In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly invoked the country's constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the presidency therefore vacant".

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He said Trump's move "authorizes the U.S. government to identify, target and impose sanctions on any persons who continue to provide support" for Maduro's "illegitimate regime".

The threat of sanctions from the US will likely deter many individuals and companies from doing business with the Venezuelan government going forward.

Asked by a reporter how Venezuela would respond to the executive order, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said: "I'm going to paraphrase Donald Trump ..." Yet it's unclear whether countries with closer relations with Caracas - including China and Russian Federation - will follow suit, potentially dulling the full impact of the new measures on the Venezuelan government.

Francisco Rodriguez, Torino Capital chief economist, said Trump's order essentially formalized a "a de facto ban on transactions between USA persons and the Venezuelan government". It comes after Vice President Pence earlier this year announced minor us sanctions against Maduro loyalists.

Guaido and his allies have repeatedly argued that China and Russian Federation are more likely to collect on their loans to Venezuela with Maduro out of office.

The only exceptions allowed under the order include official federal government business and humanitarian aid. The U.S.is opposed to elections while Maduro remains in power, he said.

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