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US sanctions Cuban firm to weaken Maduro's hold in Venezuela

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Posted at 9:35 AM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 12:35:48-04

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The United States is hitting Cuba's state-run oil shipping firm Cubametales with financial sanctions, saying it's a key player propping up Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that Maduro clings to power using shipments of Venezuelan oil to buy critical military and intelligence support from Havana.

Treasury officials also say they're lifting sanctions on PB Tankers because the firm stopped delivering Venezuelan oil to the island nation.

The Trump administration considers Maduro's re-election last year illegitimate and backs opposition leader Juan Guaidó's campaign to oust the socialist leader.

Maduro says the U.S. is leading an imperialist economic war against Venezuela.