President Donald Trump is still considering blocking Venezuelan oil from reaching the United States, a potentially devastating outcome for Venezuela’s oil dependent economy and U.S. refiners, Axios reports.
United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters Thursday that the United States will continue considering the sanctions, despite the risks.
“There’s a lot of support in Latin America to see Venezuela start to respect its people and go back to the democracy it’s supposed to be,” Haley said. “If things don’t improve, all those options are always there, and so that’s what we’re watching to see.”
Since President Nicolas Maduro began dismantling Venezuela’s democratic institutions earlier this year, Trump has increased economic pressure on the socialist, authoritarian regime, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Oil sanctions are a delicate balancing act for the Trump administration, between dealing a decisive blow to an increasing corrupt and oppressive regime and cutting off U.S. refineries from a significant source of crude oil. Recent natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have only increased the United States’ need for foreign fuel to aid recovery efforts.
“[Oil sanctions] are not off the table, I can tell you that,” Haley said.
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