The US Treasury Department (Photo: AP)
WASHINGTON, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The US Treasury Department said on Friday that it had imposed sanctions on two shipping companies that operate in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy, adding that individuals operating in Venezuelan defense and security sector might be subject to sanctions.
The designated targets of Friday's sanctions are two shipping companies and two vessels registered under them, which transported oil from Venezuela to Cuba, according to a statement issued by the Treasury Department.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement that "the US will take further action if Cuba continues to receive Venezuelan oil in exchange for military support."
Mnuchin also warned that Venezuela's military and intelligence services would be met with "serious consequences" if they continue to support Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property of those sanctioned targets that are subject to US jurisdiction will be blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them, the statement noted.
The United States has been pursuing a policy of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation against the Venezuelan government in support of the opposition leader Juan Guaido.
US Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday issued a warning to 25 magistrates of Venezuela's supreme court of potential sanctions.
Venezuela's Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) on Wednesday "categorically and forcefully" rejected Pence's threat.
In a statement read by TSJ President Maikel Moreno, the judicial body said that Pence "in a disrespectful and interfering manner seeks to subject the highest Venezuelan judicial authorities to threats that violate the principles of independence."
The US government recognized Guaido as the nation's "interim president" on Jan. 23, days after Nicolas Maduro was inaugurated for a second term.
In response to Washington's support for Guaido, Maduro announced that he was severing "diplomatic and political" ties with the United States.