In another potentially crushing blow to the Maduro regime, US President Donald Trump has imposed stiffer sanctions on the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA.

The US has now declared it a corrupt organization. The sanctions include a freeze on any assets the firm may have in U.S. jurisdictions and bar Americans from doing business with it.

The measure was announced by US National Security Adviser, John Bolton and Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin.

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The sanctions are expected to cost the Venezuelan government USD$18-billion over the next year.

Speaking during a White House briefing, Mr. Mnuchin says the sanctions will be lifted when Maduro steps down.

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This may be of particular concern to the Jamaican Government in regard to Petrojam which is still partially owned by PDVSA.

Previous sanctions by the US on Venezuela made it difficult for Petrojam to conduct business on the international market. It’s uncertain at this time how these stiffer sanctions could affect the Jamaican oil refinery.