Remarks and Releases

Please visit the state.gov archive to view material related to Venezuela Sanctions from prior to January 21, 2017.

Executive Orders

Executive Order 13884, among other things, blocks the property of the Government of Venezuela, defined similarly to how the term is defined under E.O. 13857, and provides additional authority for designating individuals and entities that are owned or controlled by, or that act or purport to act for or on behalf of, the Government of Venezuela, as well as individuals and entities that provide certain support for persons blocked under E.O. 13884 that are included on the SDN List maintained by OFAC.  Treasury issued more than 20 new or amended general licenses under the Venezuela sanctions program, new and revised Frequently Asked Questions, and published “Guidance Related to the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Support to the Venezuelan People.”  The general licenses authorize, among other things, transactions with Guiado and the National Assembly, activities for the official business of certain international organizations, and certain humanitarian activities.

Executive Order 13857 recognizes the swearing-in of interim President Juan Guaido and amends the above-mentioned E.O.s to define “Government of Venezuela” to ensure that the Maduro regime remains the focus of our sanctions measures.  The new definition includes the state and Government of Venezuela, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank, PDVSA, and any person who has acted for or purported to act on behalf of, any of the foregoing, including as a member of the Maduro regime.

Executive Order 13692 declares a national emergency with respect to the situation in Venezuela. The targeted sanctions in this Executive Order (E.O.) implement relevant provisions of the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 signed into law on December 18, 2014, and also provide sanctions authority that goes beyond the requirements of the legislation. The E.O. provides authority to target persons involved in or responsible for the erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to antigovernment protests, and arbitrary arrest and detention of antigovernment protestors, as well as significant public corruption by senior government officials in the country. E.O. 13692 does not target the people or economy of Venezuela.

Executive Order 13808, among other things, prohibits transactions by a United States person or within the United States related to: certain new debt of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA); certain new debt or new equity of the Government of Venezuela; existing bonds issued by the Government of Venezuela prior to August 25, 2017; and dividend payments or other distributions of profits to the Government of Venezuela from any entity owned or controlled by the Government of Venezuela. In addition, E.O. 13808 prohibits the purchase by a U.S. person or within the United States of most securities from the Government of Venezuela.

Executive Order 13827 prohibits all transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela on or after January 9, 2018 wherein U.S. jurisdiction is implicated. The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) simultaneously issued frequently asked questions (#559-563) clarifying that compliance obligations are the same, regardless of whether a transaction is denominated in digital currency or a traditional fiat currency. OFAC also clarified that U.S. persons and persons otherwise subject to OFAC jurisdiction that facilitate or engage in online commerce or process transactions using digital currency are responsible for ensuring that they do not engage in unauthorized transactions prohibited by U.S. sanctions.

Executive Order 13835, among other things, prohibits transactions by a United States person or within the United States related to: the purchase of any debt owed to the Government of Venezuela (including PDVSA), such as but not limited to accounts receivable; any debt owed to the Government of Venezuela that is pledged as collateral after May 21, 2018; and the sale, transfer, assignment, or pledging as collateral by the Government of Venezuela of any equity interest in any entity in which it has a 50 percent or greater ownership interest. E.O. 13835 closes another avenue for corruption by denying the Venezuelan regime the ability to earn money by selling off public assets at “fire sale”r prices at the expense of the Venezuelan people.

Executive Order 13850, among other things, authorizes the imposition of blocking sanctions on persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary, to operate in the gold sector of the Venezuelan economy or in any other sector of the Venezuelan economy as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State. Moreover, it authorizes the imposition of blocking sanctions on persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in, any transactions involving deceptive practices or corruption and the Government of Venezuela or projects or programs administered by the Government of Venezuela, or to be an immediate adult family member of such a person.  On January 28, 2019, the Treasury Department, following from consultation with the Department of State, determined that persons operating in Venezuela’s oil sector may now be subject to sanctions pursuant to E.O. 13850.  As of January 28, Treasury has designated PDVSA for operating within this sector.  This action extends to entities that are majority (50% or greater) owned by PDVSA.

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