SANCTIONS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/VENEZUELA: “President Donald Trump on Monday [1-28-19] ratcheted up pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro by slapping sanctions on the country’s state-owned petroleum company, his latest move against a regime he has deemed illegitimate. Shortly after the release of an executive order, the Treasury Department said PdVSA has ‘long been a vehicle for corruption.’ The sanctions come after Trump last week declared the U.S. would no longer recognize the Maduro government, proclaiming opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the rightful “interim president” of Venezuela…That decision, backed by several other American allies, could be a turning point for Venezuela, an oil-rich country whose economy has collapsed. But Maduro, who still controls the country’s security forces, appears determined to hang on to the presidency, announcing last Wednesday that he was cutting off diplomatic relations with America. Venezuela’s economy relies a great deal on U.S. purchases of its oil, but only 6 percent of U.S. oil imports come from the Latin American country. Mnuchin told reporters that the administration had been ‘very careful’ to make sure its sanctions wouldn’t affect American consumers through higher gas prices.”

Victoria Guida, “Trump sanctions Venezuelan oil in latest move against Maduro,” Politico, January 28, 2019 4:19 pm