White House Photographer Pete Souza
The United States Treasury Department has sanctioned a Chinese defense firm over the firm’s dealings with Venezuela.
According to The Washington Free Beacon:
China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation (CEIEC) allegedly sold hardware that allowed Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro to conduct digital surveillance and other cyber maneuvers against political opponents. The Chinese company began offering services to Venezuela in 2017, providing much of its products and support to state-run telecommunications giant Venezuelan National Telephone Company, which controls 70 percent of the country’s internet services.
The company also oversaw a billion-dollar surveillance initiative in Venezuela, installing 30,000 cameras in the country, according to an Air Force academic paper.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin outlined how the transactions bolster the regime in Caracas.
“The illegitimate Maduro regime’s reliance on entities like CEIEC to advance its authoritarian agenda further illustrates the regime’s prioritization of power over democratic values and processes,” Mnuchin said in a statement. “The United States will not hesitate to target anyone helping to suppress the democratic will of the Venezuelan people and others around the world.”
The Maduro regime called this an attempt to interfere with Venezuelan politics on the eve of the country’s elections.