The US considers restrictive measures against the export of oil from Venezuela

US Threatens to Ban Venezuelan Oil

US Threatens to Ban Venezuelan Oil

Tillerson did not push back against the suggestion that sanctions on oil might also hurt USA companies that have built refineries in the southern United States geared to accept Venezuelan crude.

For all of his anti-capitalist rhetoric, Venezuela remains highly dependent on USA oil exports, especially for importing food and medicine, which are in short supply as crude prices have plunged and spiraling inflation erodes its economy.

Sanctioning oil would be a drastic move, and it is the latest hint by the United States that it could further crack down on Venezuela.

Exports to the U.S. averaged more than 600,000 barrels a day between January and November a year ago, data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency shows.

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Washington may be nearing a decision on extending sanctions against Venezuela to include imports of Venezuelan crude and exports of US refined products to the troubled South American country.

"I won't mention names right now ... but I look at these countries, I look at the numbers we send them and we send them massive aid, and they are pouring drugs into our country and they are laughing at us", Trump said at a televised round-table in Virginia. Tillerson said at joint press conference with Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie on Sunday.

The Secretary of State, who has been travelling through several Latin American countries since February 1, will meet with President Juan Manuel Santos and he is due to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries, which have traditionally had good connections.

"One of the aspects of considering sanctioning oil is what effect would it have on the Venezuelan people?"

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He will then visit Jamaica for talks on how regional powers can replace the subsidized oil that Venezuela ships to Caribbean nations, in the event it is hit by sanctions or economic collapse.

"As Tillerson said, we should intensify all exchanges as much as possible, not just through dialogue, but also in gathering information on the activities of these groups that are using cross-border crimes to sponsor their interests", he stressed.

Venezuela's pro-government constitutional assembly last month ordered the presidential election to be held by the end of April - months ahead of when the country's presidential voting has traditionally taken place. "If he wants to step aside and let someone else follow through on that, that's fine, but our view is you must return to the constitution, and that's what we hope Venezuela ultimately will do".

Experts and analysts have also warned that such sanctions could have negative effects on the USA oil industry and consumers.

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