Washington DC [US], December 1 (ANI): The United States has imposed sanctions on Chinese firm China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation (CEIEC), accusing it of supporting President Nicolas Maduro's efforts to undermine democracy in Venezuela.
While slamming China, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that CEIEC provides cyber support and technical experts to state-run telecommunications providers which frequently blocks online independent newspapers and speeches by opposition members.
"Today, the United States is sanctioning CEIEC for supporting the illegitimate Maduro 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," Pompeo said in a statement.
"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," he said.
The US Department of Treasury said that CEIEC has been supporting the Maduro regime's malicious cyber efforts since 2017 and providing technical expertise to Venezuelan government entities, against the people of the country.
"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," said Secretary of Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin.
"Non-democratic governments use Chinese-exported technologies such as those CEIEC has provided to repress political dissent within their own borders. CEIEC has been supporting the Maduro regime's malicious cyber efforts since 2017. CEIEC has provided software, training, and technical expertise to Venezuela government entities, which was then used against the people of Venezuela," the Treasury Department said in a statement.
The statement said that the suite of software and hardware that CEIEC provided Venezuela is a commercialized version of China's "Great Firewall," a nationwide system of web blocks and filters, used to maintain strict online censorship.
The Treasury Department further said the Maduro regime has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to suppress its citizens' democratic rights, intimidate them from expressing their political views, or overwhelm their voices using technology-enabled means, as buttressed by CEIEC. (ANI)