April 6 (UPI) -- The United States added 34 vessels and two companies to a growing list of sanctioned entities tied to Venezuelan oil, Vice President Mike Pence announced.
Speaking Friday at Rice University in Texas, Pence said the 34 vessels are all owned or operated by PDVSA, Venezuela's state-owned oil company. The two new companies facing U.S. sanctions both transport Venezuelan oil to Cuba, Pence said.
Taking Cuba to task over its ties to Venezuelan oil, Pence called the Caribbean nation's leaders "the real imperialists in the Western Hemisphere."
"While normal countries export goods, Cuba exports tyranny and strong-arm tactics," Pence said. "Cuba's influence has driven Venezuela's failure, and the time has come to liberate Venezuela from Cuba."
Pence said the sanctions were the latest to dry up sources of income for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government. Under Maduro's leadership, Venezuela has toiled in an economic and political crisis in recent years. Since the beginning of March, Venezuelans have been hit by a number of widespread electrical blackouts.
Pence called oil "the lifeblood of that corrupt regime."
"And those looking on should know, in the midst of all these actions, as President [Donald] Trump has made clear: All options are on the table," Pence said. "We will not stand idly by while the Venezuelan people suffer under dictatorship and oppression. And Nicolas Maduro would do well not to test the resolve of the United States of America."
The two newly sanctioned companies are Ballito Bay Shipping Inc., of Liberia, and Proper in Management Inc., of Greece, according to a page on the U.S. Treasury Department website.
Pence said Friday that he planned to speak about Venezuela before the United Nations Security Council next week.