The sanctions relate to the oil industry.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against the Cuban oil company Cubametales due to “continuing support” to the Venezuelan regime of Nicolas Maduro. This is stated in the press release that was published on Wednesday by the Office of foreign assets control, reports “Voice of America”.

Sanctions against Cubametales “interfere with attempts by Maduro to use Venezuelan oil as a bargaining chip in negotiations and to help its adherents to gain protection in Cuba,” reads the statement of the Minister of Finance Steven Mnuchin.

The Ministry of Finance said that the state company Cubametales controls the import and export of fuel in Cuba, while maintaining close business relations with Maduro. According to Mnuchin, “Maduro clings to Cuba to stay in power by buying the military and intelligence (help) in exchange for oil”.

Last month, Washington has tightened the rules for travel to Cuba in response to the “destabilizing role”, which, according to the U.S. Treasury, Havana plays in the region. Maduro has been under us sanctions in 2017. After his re-election last year, the country was plunged into political, humanitarian and economic crisis. Venezuelans are often deprived of access to food and medicines.

According to the UN, in 2015, Venezuela because of the crisis, were forced to leave about 4 million people.

The Finance Ministry also announced on Wednesday that lifting sanctions against Italian shipping company PB Tankers. Sanctions were imposed in April due to the shipment of Venezuelan oil to Cuba.

“The decision of the Ministry on the abolition of restrictions for PB Tankers… is a reminder that positive changes in behavior can lead to the lifting of sanctions,” said Steven Mnuchin.