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Sanctioning Maduro's Enablers

Venezuela's President Maduro holds a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas (File)

The United States stands opposes Nicolas Maduro, his illegitimate government and those who help them undermine Venezuelan democracy.

Sanctioning Maduro's Enablers
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The United States stands with the people of Venezuela and Interim President Juan Guaidó. It is just one of the many reasons why we oppose Nicolas Maduro, his illegitimate government and those who help them undermine Venezuelan democracy.

One such enabler is the People’s Republic of China-owned CEIEC, formerly known as the China National Electronics Import and Export Corporation.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, CEIEC has provided the illegitimate Maduro regime with the tools it needs to maintain censorship within Venezuela. This includes software, training, and technical expertise as well as trained workers to run the state-owned telecommunications provider Venezuelan National Telephone Company.

The Maduro regime has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to suppress its citizens’ democratic rights, intimidate them from expressing their political views, or overwhelm their voices using technology-enabled means, as buttressed by CEIEC, said a statement issued by the U.S. Treasury Department. In addition, Venezuelan National Telephone Company, which controls 70 percent of the country’s internet service, frequently blocks independent newspapers, and routinely muffles live-streamed speeches by members of the Interim Government.

On November 30, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, designated CEIEC pursuant to Executive Order 13692 as amended. The Treasury Department determined that the PRC-owned company supports the illegitimate Maduro regime’s efforts to undermine democracy in Venezuela. It enabled Maduro’s efforts to restrict internet service and conduct digital surveillance and cyber operations against political opponents, thus suppressing dissent—the same types of tools and technology Beijing uses to censor and control its own people.

The imposition of sanctions blocks all property and interests in property of CEIEC in the United States or within the possession or control of U.S. persons and prohibits U.S. persons from doing business with the CEIEC, unless exempt or authorized. Companies subject to U.S. jurisdiction that conduct business with the Chinese company have until January 14 to wind down their transactions with CEIEC.

“The illegitimate Maduro regime's reliance on entities like CEIEC to advance its authoritarian agenda further illustrates the regime's prioritization of power over democratic values and processes,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a written statement. “The United States will not hesitate to target anyone helping to suppress the democratic will of the Venezuelan people and others around the world.”