July, 19 2917 (Panampost)

United States President Donald Trump and his administration are preparing to impose “strong and swift” sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s regime, the The Wall Street Journal reported July 19.

Should the dictatorial regime continue with its plans to rewrite the country’s constitution by means of a Constituent Assembly, sanctions would include a “potential prohibition on crude (oil) and other petroleum product trade (with the United States),” WSJ journalists Ian Talley and Kejal Vyas reported.

According to a high-ranking White House official that spoke with WSJ, the Trump administration is seriously considering going beyond just sanctioning individuals within the chavista regime, as the US has done for years. A new approach would affect Venezuelan international sales of crude oil that “provide the vast majority of the funding for the government and the economy,” WSJ wrote. In doing so, the US would hit Maduro “where it hurts the most.”

All other actions that the US could take against Venezuela are still on the table, according to WSJ’s source.

“We can promise that whatever actions we take after July 30 (the date of the Constituent Assembly vote) will be strong, swift and deliberate,” the source said.

The White House is also reportedly aware that paralyzing sales of Venezuelan crude oil would effectively “crush” the Venezuelan government, while also damaging US markets.

The United States is the number-one buyer of Venezuelan crude oil, only importing more of the resource from Saudi Arabia and Canada. In 2015, Forbes reported that Venezuela exported 780,00 bpd to the United States.