President Trump signed an executive order Monday imposing new sanctions against Venezuela and the government of President Nicolás Maduro, in what amounts to a near-total economic embargo. The latest move freezes the property and assets of the Venezuelan government as the country grapples with ongoing sanctions targeting its oil industry. The Wall Street Journal reports that the sanctions are on a par with those against North Korea, Iran, Syria and Cuba. Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez said in an interview that the country is “facing a transnational legal coup planned by the U.S. government.” Venezuela has been plunged into a political crisis following the attempted overthrow of Maduro by opposition leader Juan Guaidó in January. The ongoing unrest and U.S.-imposed sanctions have crippled the Venezuelan economy. According to the U.N., around a quarter of Venezuela’s population is in need of aid, and 3 million people have left the country since 2016.
Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, is speaking today at a conference in Lima, Peru, where he will reiterate U.S. support for Guaidó. Special envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross are also set to attend the meeting.