US Considers Cutting Venezuelan Oil Imports

US Threatens to Ban Venezuelan Oil

"We're looking at how to mitigate. the impacts on USA business interests", said Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon Mobil.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Argentina during a tour of Latin America to bolster a common front against Venezuela's bid to hold a presidential election that opponents deem illegitimate.

"The situation is becoming quite dire in Venezuela", said Tillerson, who added that the administration was weighing the effect of sanctions on the Venezuelan people - and whether they would quickly produce the desired result.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro fist-bumps with oil workers during a visit to a facility in the oil-rich Orinoco belt in the state of Monagas, March 21, 2013.

"Obviously sanctioning oil or prohibiting the oil to be sold in the United States.is something we continue to consider", Tillerson said, while acknowledging Faurie's concerns.

But such sanctions also pose a great threat to Maduro.

Last week, President Trump said at a meeting in Virginia that he would cut aid to countries that were "pouring drugs" into the States. "Is it a step that might bring this to an end more rapidly?", Tillerson added, referring to the potential ouster of democratically elected Maduro.

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Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie voiced support for the secretary's proposal, calling for "controlling the financing" of Venezuela as an "absolutely important" instrument to pressure the Maduro government as long as the sanctions "never harm the Venezuelan people".

Referring to Tillerson's Friday speech insinuating China is a "potential predatory actor", the paper said the current US administration believes it is living during the Cold War, "even though the rest of the world has moved on and is living in 2018".

"Rex Tillerson visiting Argentina just threatened us with a oil embargo", Maduro said on Facebook.

Analysts say USA oil sanctions could completely cripple the Venezuelan economy.

Tillerson made the remarks during a news conference in Buenos Aires amid his five-stop Latin American tour created to promote the Trump administration's foreign and domestic policy agenda.

Maduro has accused the United States and its allies of trying to undermine his socialist government.

As the US Secretary of State embarks upon his voyage across the region that the United States has long considered its own backyard since the implementation of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, it's unclear exactly how receptive the countries he's about to visit will be to his message.

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