US blocks assets of Venezuela’s Central Bank in new sanctions

The United States on Wednesday said it would forbid all Americans’ dealings with the Central Bank of Venezuela and also block any US assets of the the bank, as well as its director, Iliana Josefa Ruzza Teran.

America alleged that the bank was being used as key conduits for funding Maduro’s government.

The sanctions were the latest efforts by the US to strangle President Nicolas Maduro’s cash flow.

In a hard-hitting speech in Miami largely devoted to Cuba, National Security Advisor John Bolton also unveiled measures against a third leftist government in Latin America, Nicaragua, with sanctions against President Daniel Ortega’s son.

“Treasury is designating the Central Bank of Venezuela to prevent it from being used as a tool of the illegitimate Maduro regime, which continues to plunder Venezuelan assets and exploit government institutions to enrich corrupt insiders,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that accompanied Bolton’s speech.

The Treasury Department said it had taken precautions to ensure that ordinary Venezuelans can use debit and credit cards, even with the blacklisting of the central bank.

Bolton also announced action against Laureano Ortega Murillo, the son of Nicaragua’s leftist leader and Rosario Murillo, who is both vice president and first lady.

The Treasury Department accused the younger Ortega of “corrupt business deals” with foreign investors and of using the Nicaragua Grand Canal project — a long-running bid to build a rival to the Panama Canal — as a way to launder money.

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