Merida, February 2, 2018, (venezuelanalysis.com) – Theresa May’s Government signed punitive new restrictions on the “sale, supply, transfer, export or trading” of arms or goods “which may be used for repressive purposes” to Venezuela into law on Thursday.
The embargo applies to both UK citizens and companies, and any company which does business in the UK.
“Order 2018”, or the “Export Control (Venezuela Sanctions) Order” is due to come into force on the 26th of February 2018.
Such moves by the British government follow recent sanctions and trade embargoes imposed by the United States and its major allies, including Canada and the European Union. Venezuelan authorities have staunchly rejected such sanctions, describing them as “interventionist”, “a flagrant violation of international law”, and “warmongering”.
The new sanctions from the British government allegedly also include “supplying technical assistance, brokering, financing, or financial assistance, telecommunications, monitoring, or internet services in favour of the Venezuelan government, its public institutions, corporations, and agencies” according to rightist Venezuelan news outlet lapatilla.com.
However, the British embassy in Caracas played down the reach of this new legislation, indicating through Twitter that British businesses and those based in Britain may indeed trade freely with Venezuela, and that the embargo only applies to weapons and materials which may be used for repressive ends.
Los ciudadanos y empresas del Reino Unido pueden comerciar libremente con #Venezuela.
La única restricción es un embargo de armas y material que podría ser usado con fines represivos, aprobado por la Unión Europea en noviembre de 2017 e implementado por todos sus miembros.
— UK in Venezuela (@UKinVenezuela) 1. Februar 2018
Neither the embassy, the legislation, nor the British Government have provided in-depth explanation what “materials which may be used for repressive ends” means.
These new sanctions by the British government follow recent moves by the European Union and the United States to isolate the Caribbean nation and undermine its democratically elected Government. These sanctions appear just weeks before the upcoming presidential elections, in which President Maduro is standing for re-election.
“This Order provides for the enforcement of trade restrictions against Venezuela specified in Regulation (EU) No. 2017/2063 concerning restrictive measures against Venezuela (OJ L 295,14.11.2017, p. 21–37) (“the Venezuela Sanctions Regulation”)” explains Order 2018 on page 8, basing itself in recent EU legislation against Venezuela.
The effects of US and EU imposed sanctions have already started to be felt in Venezuela, especially in the oil industry, and in relation to domestic petrol supply which relies on the imported chemicals to process its crude oil, and pharmaceutical industries.
Maduro has activated initiatives aimed at decreasing Venezuela’s dependence on US/EU controlled financial institutions and corporations in recent weeks, including pricing Venezuelan oil in yuan, transferring most of Venezuela’s reserves to euros, yuan, or gold, and launching a new crypto currency to alleviate their dependence on financial intermediaries such as Visa or Mastercard.
Click here to see the new legislation in full.