The United States on Monday escalated its rhetoric and moves against Venezuela, right after Nicolas Maduro secured a second six-year term in the country's election.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order prohibiting certain additional transactions with respect to Venezuela.
The order, effective at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Monday, targets the Maduro government by banning all transactions by a U.S. individual or an entity within the United States from purchasing any debt owed to the Venezuelan government, including accounts receivable.
Moreover, the order prohibits the purchase of any debt owed to Venezuela that is pledged as collateral after the effective date of the order; the sale, transfer, assignment, or pledging as collateral by Venezuela of any equity interest in any entity in which the Venezuelan government has a 50-percent or greater ownership interest.
It also bans "any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions" and "any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions" set forth in this order.
Trump has authorized the U.S. treasury secretary, in consultation with the state secretary, to promulgate rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to implement this order.
"All agencies of the United States Government shall take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order," reads the order.
Earlier on Monday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence lashed out at Venezuela's elections in a statement, saying it was a "sham" that was "neither free nor fair."
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said in a statement issued on the same day that the United States will take "swift economic and diplomatic actions" against Caracas.
Venezuelan President of the National Electoral Council (CNE) Tibisay Lucena announced late Sunday that Maduro was reelected by a wide margin, garnering over 5.8 million votes, with a voter turnout at 46.01 percent. Maduro's next closest rival Henri Falcon got around 1.8 million ballots and the third-place candidate Javier Bertucci got 925,042 votes.
Minutes after the electoral body issued its announcement, Maduro celebrated the results, calling on opposition leaders, including former opposition candidates, to take part in constructive dialogue to promote national peace and prosperity.
Maduro was first elected in 2013, pledging to strengthen the Bolivarian Revolution launched by former President Hugo Chavez.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Feb 5. that China supports the various parties of Venezuela to properly settle their problems through dialogue, adding that China is willing to continue to help with the country's economic and social development through practical bilateral cooperation.