- Erosion of human rights guarantees
- Persecution of political opponents
- Curtailment of press freedoms
- The use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to anti-government protests
- Arbitrary arrest and detention of anti-government protesters
- Exacerbating presence of significant public corruption
These violations, according to the U.S. government, “constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. Today, the U.S. government is ratcheting up the pressure by putting companies and countries, including Liberia, on notice for engaging in business activities with the Maduro government.
Over the past several months, the United States Government has tightened the noose around the Venezuelan government to remove the tough-talking Nicolas Maduro. On November 1, 2018, President Trump signed Executive Order 13850, and on August 5, 2019, Executive Order 13884 was signed by President Trump to Block the Property of the Government of Venezuela.
The following five Monrovia-based companies are on the U.S. Sanctions list:
- Ballito Bay Shipping Incorporated
- 80 Broad Street
- Large Range Limited
- LARGE RANGE LIMITED, 80 Broad Street, Monrovia, Liberia; Identification Number IMO 6002286 [VENEZUELA-EO13850].
- Jennifer Navigation Limited
- JENNIFER NAVIGATION LIMITED (a.k.a. JENNIFER NAVIGATION LTD.), 80 Broad Street, Monrovia, Liberia; Identification Number IMO 4098018 [VENEZUELA-EO13850].
- Lima Shipping Corporation
- LIMA SHIPPING CORPORATION (a.k.a. LIMA SHIPPING CORP), 80 Broad Street, Monrovia, Liberia; Identification Number IMO 4063640 [VENEZUELA-EO13850].
- Serenity Maritime Limited
- 80 Broad Street
Implications of U.S. Sanctions
For decades, the U.S. has engaged the use of sanctions as policy tools in response to oppressive regimes. In 2014, the U.S. Congress enacted the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act (P.L. 113-278; 50 U.S.C 1701).
Among the provisions of the law, the President of the United States is required to impose sanctions, block assets, and restrict the visas against those whom the President determines are responsible for significant acts of violence or serious human rights abuses associated with protests in Venezuela.
More broadly, against anyone who has directed or ordered the arrest or prosecution of a person primarily because of the person’s legitimate exercise of freedom of expression or assembly. Today, the U.S. Treasury has financial sanctions on 85 Venezuelans pursuant to E.O. 13692.
Under the Obama Administration, the U.S. Treasury Department froze the assets of seven Venezuelans – six were members of Venezuela’s security forces and a prosecutor who repressed protesters. Under the Trump administration, the Treasury Department currently has sanctions on an additional 78 Venezuelan government and military officials including
- President Nicolas Maduro and his wife, Cecilia Flores;
- Executive Vice President Delcy Rodriguez,
- Eight Supreme Court members,
- The leaders of Venezuela’s army,
- Four state governors,
- The director of the Central Bank of Venezuela, and
- The foreign minister.
On May 7, 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department lifted sanctions against the head of Venezuela’s intelligence service, General Manuel Christopher Figuera, who broke ranks with Maduro. And, on June 28, 2019, the Treasury Department sanctioned Maduro’s son, Nicolas Maduro Guerra.
The Venezuela Executive-Orders also authorize OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) to add to the SDN list any third-country individual or entity who is found to have provided material assistance (i.e. to have “materially assisted, supported, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of”).
U.S. Sanctions against Monrovia-based companies carry severe implications for the Government of Liberia and LISCR (Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry).
The U.S. and about 50 other countries say Maduro’s re-election last year was not legitimate and have recognized the head of the National Assembly as the interim president of Venezuela. The sanctions are meant to cut off the government’s most important source of revenue and reduce the Maduro’s government access to the global financial system. Governments and countries around the world are being cautioned to develop policies to ensure these sanctions are not violated.