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U.S. imposes tough economic sanctions on Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks at a news conference at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas on Aug. 22. (Cristian Hernandez / European Pressphoto Agency)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks at a news conference at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas on Aug. 22. (Cristian Hernandez / European Pressphoto Agency)

The Trump administration on Friday slapped sweeping financial sanctions on Venezuela, barring banks from any new financial deals with the government or state-run oil giant PDVSA.

The sanctions Trump signed by executive order are bound to dramatically escalate tensions between Venezuela and the U.S. and exacerbate the country's economic crisis.

The White House said in a statement that the measures "are carefully calibrated to deny the [President Nicolas] Maduro dictatorship a critical source of financing to maintain its illegitimate rule, protect the United States financial system from complicity in Venezuela's corruption and in the impoverishment of the Venezuelan people, and allow for humanitarian assistance."

The new actions prohibit dealings in new debt and equity issued by the government of Venezuela and its state oil company. It also prohibits dealings in certain existing bonds owned by the Venezuelan public sector, as well as dividend payments to the government of Venezuela.

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