Washington blacklisted the China National Electronic Import-Export Company (CEIEC) for aiding the Venezuelan government, vowing to block all transactions with the firm or any entity that owns a 50 percent or higher stake in it.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has slammed the “illegal sanctions” against CEIEC, calling on the US to lift the restrictions and promised to take the necessary steps in order to safeguard its interests. According to the US, the Chinese company helped Caracas in restricting internet access and conducting surveillance, while Beijing stressed it had supported Venezuela in defending its sovereignty.
The technology company has been supporting the Venezuelan government’s cyber efforts since 2017, according to the US Treasury Department. Washington claims that Beijing uses similar technology, dubbed the “Great Firewall”, to control the information flow in the country.
The Latin American country has been a target of US sanctions for at least 5 years. The restrictions, targeting oil company PDVSA and other entities, escalated after Washington refused to recognise the nation’s 2018 presidential elections and backed the self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaido, who at the time headed the country’s National Assembly.
According to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the US and its allies were using sanctions to depose him and get access to the country’s assets and oil and gas resources.