The United States has imposed sanctions on a major Chinese tech firm, China National Electronics Import and Export Corporation (CEIEC), for conducting business with Venezuela. The sanctions were announced on November 30, Monday, by the US Treasury Department. The move is based on allegations that the CEIEC is assisting the Venezuelan government to “suppress” dissent.
The allegations come in light of Venezuelan government-run telecom firm CANTV blocking certain websites and platforms linked with pro-coup and pro-Guaido groups. The US government stated that the contract with the CEIEC has assisted in the supposed censorship.
The US has specifically targeted telecom providers in Venezuela as part of its larger efforts to delegitimize the upcoming general election, scheduled for December 6. The Venezuelan government has condemned the sanctions by the US as “illegal” and an attempt at “isolating the country and generating difficulties for the Venezuelan population.”
Since December 2018, the US under president Donald Trump has escalated a hybrid war against the democratically-elected socialist government of Venezuela. Monday’s sanctions are an extension of this war on the trading partners of Venezuela, who have refused to recognize US-supported claims to the presidency by Juan Guaido.
Monday’s sanctions will restrict transactions of US firms with the CEIEC and freeze the assets of any associated firm in which the company has 50% or more stakes. The sanctions also come days after reports revealed that Venezuela has resumed direct oil shipments to China, despite US sanctions. The shipments started more than a year after Chinese firms were forced to halt oil trade with Venezuela because of sanctions.