May 10 (UPI) -- The Treasury Department designated two oil transport companies subject to sanctions on Friday, adding that Venezuela's defense and security sectors also could face similar action.
A Treasury Department statement said those "operating in the defense and security sector of the Venezuelan economy may be subject to sanctions." The Monsoon Navigation Corp. was cited in the statement, as well as its crude oil tanker Ocean Elegance. So was Security Maritime Ltd. and its chemical and oil tanker Leon Dias. Both ships were observed delivering Venezuelan oil to Cuba.
"Treasury's action today puts Venezuela's military and intelligence services, as well as those who support them, on notice that their continued backing of the illegitimate [President Nicolas] Maduro regime will be met with serious consequences," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
"The U.S. will take further action if Cuba continues to receive Venezuelan oil in exchange for military support. As we have repeatedly said, the path to sanctions relief for those who have been sanctioned is to take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order," he said.
The action blocks all property and financial interests in the companies subject to U.S. jurisdiction. The United States supports a movement to oust Maduro from power in favor of opposition leader Juan Guaido, president of Venezuela's National Assembly.
Earlier this week the Treasury Department lifted sanctions against Gen. Manuel Cristofer Figuera, former chief of Venezuela's intelligence service, after he broke with Maduro. Figuera's departure from the sanctions list is a U.S. effort to encourage Venezuelan leaders to break from Maduro.