United States hands bank accounts to Venezuela's Guaido

Venezuela's Guaido expresses concern over Greek position | News

The latest sanctions on PDVSA, which has been a "vehicle for corruption.will help prevent further diverting of Venezuela's assets by Maduro and preserve these assets for the people of Venezuela", Mnuchin said.

Some 75 per cent of the country's cash-generating oil shipments go the USA, according to Barclays, but Mr Maduro retains the support of Russia, China, Turkey and Iran and is likely to divert shipments to them.

The new economic sanctions are created to weaken Maduro and strengthen the hand of Juan Guaidó, whom the United States recognized last week as interim president of Venezuela.

PDSVA is the acronym for the state-owned oil company. Guaidó is regarded as Venezuela's real leader by the USA and the European Union, while Russian Federation and China have thrown their support behind Maduro.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on the order for Guaido to control holdings in the Federal Reserve Bank of NY and federally insured banks, the State Department said.

But Mr Guaido's team may try a number of things, even if they were unlikely to work, because "politically it shows he is trying to do something, that he has power", Mr Holder said.

The U.K., along with Canada and most Latin American countries, followed the U.S.in recognizing Guaido as the country's legitimate leader.

That all changed on Monday when the US Treasury department announced sanctions on PDVSA, the state oil monopoly.

China has said it opposes unilateral sanctions.

Venezuela's ambassador, Jorge Valero, said the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump was preparing a "military invasion" and questioned whether Washington had the moral authority to "impose a diktat" on Caracas.

Along with China and Russia, Turkey and leftist regional allies Bolivia, Cuba and Mexico still back Mr Maduro.

The Trump administration had long held off targeting Venezuela's oil sector for fear that it would hurt U.S. refiners and raise oil prices for Americans.

It does, however, prevent U.S. firms from exporting certain oil products Venezuela needs to blend with its own crude for sale elsewhere. Venezuela is among the world's largest heavy crude oil producers. He praised USA efforts to "support the restoration of democracy in Venezuela" but said "there are more questions than answers about the administration's strategy".

"The relevant country's sanctions on Venezuela will lead to the deterioration of conditions of people's lives", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing in Beijing, referring to the United States.

Mnuchin said that Citgo would be able to continue to operate but won't be allowed to remit money to the Maduro regime.

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