Today, the United States removed sanctions on oil shipping company PB Tankers in response to actions it has taken to ensure that its vessels no longer were complicit in supporting the former Maduro regime. Additionally, the United States designated Cubametales, the Cuban state-run company and primary facilitator of oil imports from Venezuela, for circumventing U.S. sanctions.
The services and goods Cuba provides Venezuela continue to fuel the corruption of Maduro and his cronies and help maintain their influence over the Venezuelan people. These actions serve to squeeze the lifeline provided by Cuba that preserves Nicolas Maduro’s influence. Every drop of Venezuelan oil shipped to Cuba is traded for additional security and intelligence officers and other personnel, which further robs and impoverishes a once rich nation, denies Venezuelan sovereignty, and prolongs the suffering of the Venezuelan people.
We commend PB Tankers, which was sanctioned on April 12, 2019, for taking actions since then to ensure that its vessels are not used to prop up Maduro and his Cuban sponsors. This is a reminder that those who take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democracy in Venezuela can expect the removal of sanctions.
At the same time, the United States will continue to take action against those that seek to thwart Venezuela’s peaceful transition back to freedom and prosperity.
We call on the international community to step up pressure on Nicolas Maduro and his criminal associates. We must stand together in support of the Venezuelan people’s struggle for democracy and desire to live in dignity.