Wednesday, August 2, 2017

US sanctions on Maduro symbolic, but more could follow

more could follow
Though US sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro were seen by many as symbolic, more US sanctions targeting the country could follow, experts said.

The United States on Monday slapped economic sanctions on Maduro after Venezuela held its National Constituent Assembly (ANC) on Sunday.

"By sanctioning Maduro, the United States makes clear our opposition to the policies of his regime," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Though it was rare for the United States to slap sanctions on a sitting leader of a country, the US move on Monday was far more limited in its scope compared to previous estimation that the United States would target Venezuela's oil industry.

Venezuelan political observer Sergio Rodriguez Gelfenstein told Xinhua that the US sanctions against Maduro were a symbolic measure designed to show Washington's disapproval of the leader who defied a White House order to scrap Sunday's poll.

Personal sanctions against Maduro are unlikely to harm US interests, whereas economic sanctions against the South American country could affect US businesses, Rodriguez said.

"Maduro is not going to be deterred, so the question is what happens when the new constituent assembly starts dismantling the existing institutions or we have further bloodshed. I think we will start to see escalating economic measures," Helima Croft, head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, told CNBC.

Maduro on Monday rebuffed US sanctions that targeted him personally, saying he was "proud" to be singled out by the measure.

"They sanction me because I call for an electoral process that is unique in the history of the Americas ... because I don't obey the orders of foreign governments? If that is so, then I feel proud of the proposed sanction," said Maduro.

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