Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

US Oil Industry Pushes Back on Sanctions against Venezuela

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

US Oil Industry Pushes Back on Sanctions against Venezuela

Article excerpt

CARACAS, Venezuela * The decision Wednesday by President Donald Trump's administration to slap sanctions on eight members of Venezuela's all-powerful constitutional assembly brings to 30 the number of government loyalists targeted for human rights abuses and violations of democratic norms since anti-government protests began in April.

But even as the list of targeted individuals grows, promised economic sanctions have yet to materialize amid an outcry by the U.S. oil industry that a potential ban on petroleum imports from Venezuela third-largest supplier to the U.S. would hurt U.S. jobs and drive up gas costs.

The sanctions announced Wednesday focused on current or former Venezuelan government officials accused by the U.S. of supporting President Nicolas Maduro's creation of a special assembly charged with rewriting Venezuela's constitution a move the U.S. says is an attempt by Maduro to shore up his grip on power.

Since its election last month, the 545-member assembly has declared itself superior to all other government institutions and ousted Venezuela's chief prosecutor, a vocal critic of Maduro.

The U.S. Treasury Department took the unusual step of sanctioning Maduro last month, freezing any assets he may have in the U.S. and blocking Americans from doing business with him.

The newest additions on Wednesday include Adan Chavez, the older brother of Hugo Chavez, who is credited with introducing the late president to Marxist ideology, and a national guard colonel lionized by the government after he shoved congressional leader Julio Borges during an exchange caught on video. …

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