Trinidad and Tobago, a Caribbean island nation, has canceled an agreement with Venezuela to jointly develop a natural gas field along its maritime border due to U.S. sanctions.
Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Keith Rowley announced the decision on Monday during an energy conference held in Port of Spain, according to Spanish news agency EFE.
Rowley said the current sanction on Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA "makes it impossible" to develop the joint gas project in the Loran-Manatee, located on the continental shelf of the Atlantic Ocean.
Venezuela has been under severe U.S. sanctions, economic and diplomatic, for more than a year as Washington recognizes the country's opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate ruler instead of elected President Nicolas Maduro.
After imposing sweeping sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil firm PDVSA in January, the Trump administration issued an executive order last month freezing all assets in the U.S. belonging to the Venezuelan government in a significant escalation of tensions with Caracas.
Late January, the U.S. added 15 Venezuelan aircraft operated by PDVSA, the latest in a series of measures targeting the Maduro government.
Since the beginning of this year, Venezuela has been embroiled in political unrest as Maduro and Guaido engage in a power battle amid a dire economic crisis in the Latin American nation.
The U.S. administrations, despite a long track record of supporting military dictators who have killed thousands and repressed millions in Latin America and the Caribbean, have imposed sanctions on countries like Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua on the grounds that they violate human rights.
By Beyza Binnur Donmez