President Donald Trump announced an executive order to slap the government of Venezuela with brutal new sanctions that are reserved for only the worst regimes.
The order will freeze all assets of the socialist government in Venezuela and bars all transactions.
Only North Korea, Iran, Syria and Cuba have similar sanctions against them by the United States.
The president sent a letter to the Congress to explain his action against the country and its dictator Nicholas Maduro.
“I have determined that it is necessary to block the property of the Government of Venezuela in light of the continued usurpation of power by the illegitimate Nicolas Maduro regime,” he said in the letter.
The letter listed the actions of the Venezuelan government that led to the sanctions, including, “the regime’s human rights abuses, arbitrary arrest and detention of Venezuelan citizens, curtailment of free press, and ongoing attempts to undermine Interim President Juan Guaido of Venezuela and the democratically-elected Venezuelan National Assembly.”
The U.S. and its allies hoped that Maduro would have stepped down after they threw their support behind Guaido, the opposition leader, but the dictator stubbornly held on to power with help from the Cuban government.
Once considered among the most prosperous countries in Latin America due to its oil reserves, Venezuela has collapsed after decades of socialist governance that has led to massive shortages and violent political unrest.
Here’s the latest on the chaos in Venezuela:
Desperate families take over unfinished high-rise apartment in Venezuela