In January 2019, Trump approved new “sanctions” against PDVSA that included $ 7 billion in Citgo assets freezing , causing an estimated loss of $ 11 billion of its exports over the next few years.
The Treasury Department, all PDVSA assets under US jurisdiction are blocked effective immediately, and US citizens and companies are “generally prohibited from engaging in transactions [with PDVSA].” The statement adds that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) may issue licenses to “authorize transactions and activities related to PDVSA and its subsidiaries within specified timeframes.”
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stated that the US “will continue to use economic and diplomatic tools to support Juan Guaido,” who declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela
During the same press conference, National Security Advisor John Bolton estimated the latest sanctions would cause Venezuela to lose around US $11 billion in exports in 2019 and freeze around $7 billion worth in assets. Bolton also urged the Venezuelan military to accept a transfer of power to Guaido.
Reports also revealed Guaido has lobbied British authorities not to return US $1.3 billion worth of gold that Venezuela currently has in the Bank of England. The total amount increased from $550 million after the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) recently closed a gold swap deal with German Deutsche Bank. BCV President Calixto Ortega met with Bank of England officials in December, but the latter have refused to repatriate the Venezuelan gold.
Australia and Israel joined the group of countries that recognize Guaido. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the country was joining the US, Canada and other governments in Europe and Latin America in recognizing the “new leadership” of Venezuela, while Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said Australia would support Mr Guaido until elections were called.