Washington: The United States has said it sanctioned Chinese firm China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation (CEIEC) for supporting the 'illegitimate' President Nicolas Maduro’s regime's efforts to undermine democracy in Venezuela.
"These efforts include restricting internet service and conducting digital surveillance against political opponents of the regime. CEIEC has provided software, training, and technical expertise to the regime’s entities.
"It provides cyber support and technical experts to state-run telecommunications provider Venezuelan National Telephone Company (CANTV) which controls 70 percent of internet service in Venezuela and frequently blocks online independent newspapers and speeches by opposition members," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
"PRC technology companies, including CEIEC, lead the world in developing and exporting tools to monitor, censor, and surveil citizens’ activities on the internet. CEIEC has been supporting the Maduro regime’s malicious efforts to repress political dissent and undermine democratic processes since 2017," the statement said.
"With this latest action, the United States reaffirms its commitment to promoting accountability for all those complicit in the illegitimate Maduro regime’s efforts to undermine democracy.
"Maduro’s desperate attempts to manipulate the democratic processes should leave no doubt that any elections organized by the illegitimate regime, including the December 6 parliamentary elections, will be neither free nor fair," he said.
"We stand with Interim President Guaidó and the Venezuelan people who have struggled for years to restore democracy and liberty to Venezuela," Pompeo said.
The US imposed the sanction at a time when relationship with China has touched all-time low on numerous issues including COVID-19.