Caracas, October 2, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The US Trump administration announced Saturday that it will add Venezuela to a list of countries accused of failing to clamp down on human trafficking. In a presidential memorandum, the White House likewise named Iran, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, South Sudan, and Sudan among the newly sanctioned countries.
Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, all countries on the list are barred from receiving “non-humanitarian, non-trade related foreign assistance” from Washington until they comply with the minimum standards outlined in the law.
In the case of Venezuela, the presidential order includes a partial waiver “to allow assistance… for health programs, programs designed to strengthen the democratic process in Venezuela, and for government officials and employees to participate in foreign assistance-funded programs related to democracy and the rule of law”.
The White House communique did not provide any evidence to justify Venezuela's sudden designation.
Last week, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved a bill that would oblige the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID) to send humanitarian aid to Venezuela.
Caracas, for its part, has rejected US aid as an alleged tool for regime change, citing Washington’s multimillion dollar funding of Venezuelan opposition groups via USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy.
The new US sanction is the latest in an escalating series of actions taken by the Trump administration against Venezuela.
On September 24, the US president added Venezuela to his controversial travel ban list, targeting Venezuelan officials and their families.
Several weeks earlier, Venezuela was similarly blacklisted by the White House for allegedly failing to tackle drug trafficking.
Meanwhile in late August, the Trump administration slapped the South American country with financial sanctions, barring US banks from new dealings with Caracas and its state oil company PDVSA.