The Trump administration on Monday raised economic pressure on Venezuelan dictator Nicholas Maduro, sanctioning 34 ships used by the oil company PDVSA to transport fuel to Cuba. A senior administration spokesman told reporters that additional measures could be taken against Venezuela over this event, which will continue its efforts to force Maduro to resign and allow the country's elected leader, Juan Guaydo's constitution, to fully control.
The official also said that the possibility of using military force to push Maduro is still an option.
"It stays on the table" and "is seriously considered," said the administration official.
But at the moment, the administration will continue to use economic pressure to shake Maduro for office.
Sanctions imposed by the Ministry of Finance on 34 vessels, "tighten the loop" around Maduro, added the official.
Trump administration has already imposed sanctions on the oil company, PDVSA, which limits oil sales to US refineries on the Gulf Coast, representing one of its largest customers.
The restrictions on 34 vessels are designed to make Maduro harder to send oil to regional customers in order to generate income and reduce its impact in the region.
"The story here does not exist for PDVSA, while Maduro remains in power," said a government official.
He noticed that the Venezuelan oil refinery, Citgo, was able to switch to alternative oil supplies, and it works better financially than under the control of Maduro. Citgo is now under the control of President-elect Guaido.