The White House on Monday announced it would block the Venezuelan government from selling off the nation's assets in exchange for cash in response to what it called an illegitimate and "sham" election Sunday that gave leader Nicolas Maduro another term.
Senior administration officials said the goal of the executive order was to prevent corrupt Venezuelan officials from lining their own pockets by selling Venezuelan debt as collateral for cash that the nation's people would be saddled with in the future.
"The region has never seen as kleptocracy like this," a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call given on the condition of anonymity for the speakers. "We’ve never seen a country as wealthy in terms of natural resources and in human capital as Venezuela is, driven into such an economic death spiral so quickly by such a small group of individuals determined to enrich themselves at the expense of millions of people."
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