March 19, 2018

Menendez on New Venezuela Sanctions Targeting Petro Cryptocurrency

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the Trump Administration announced an executive order prohibiting transactions related to and dealings in Venezuela’s cryptocurrency, known as the Petro.

“I welcome the Administration’s imposition of additional sanctions to block Maduro’s efforts to further drown Venezuela in debt and suffering. Maduro created the Venezuelan state-backed Petro cryptocurrency to explicitly circumvent U.S. sanctions and to paper over the financial calamity he inflicted on his country. Beyond sanctions evasion, the Petro was hand-tailored to perpetuate the money laundering and plundering of public resources that has tragically led Venezuela to economic ruin. With an unprecedented level of Venezuelan refugees fleeing their country amidst this growing humanitarian crisis that threatens to destabilize neighboring nations, the international community must continue coordinated efforts to increase pressure on the Maduro regime.”

Menendez has led the effort in Congress to combat the Maduro regime’s plans to use cryptocurrencies to evade U.S. sanctions, writing to Secretary Mnuchin to lay out the Administration’s efforts against the Petro and raising the issue repeatedly with Trump administration officials testifying before the Senate.

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