Reed Smith Client Alerts

In his latest step to ramp up pressure on the Maduro regime, on August 5, 2019 President Trump signed Executive Order (“EO”) 13884, Blocking Property of the Government of Venezuela. U.S. persons are now prohibited from engaging in virtually all transactions with the Government of Venezuela. Meanwhile, non-U.S. persons may be exposed to a risk of sanctions if they assist or support the Government of Venezuela, including, for example, providing transportation for goods shipped to or from state-owned entities in Venezuela. This EO adds to the growing list of measures introduced by the United States against Venezuela, including most notably the designation of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A (PdVSA) (the state-owned oil company) in January 2019, pursuant to EO 13850.

Executive Order 13884

Under EO 13884, the term “Government of Venezuela” includes: (1) the state and government of Venezuela, (2) any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of Venezuela and Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., (3) any person owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the foregoing, and (4) any person who has acted or purported to act directly or indirectly for or on behalf of any of the foregoing, including as a member of the Maduro regime. Therefore, while the EO is not a comprehensive embargo against Venezuela, it does prohibit transactions with a number of entities, some of which might not immediately appear to be state owned.

Non-U.S. persons can themselves be designated if it is determined that they have “...materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, any person included on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons maintained by the Office of Foreign Assets Control whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.”