Diplomatic breakthrough? US lifts sanctions on… Italian restaurateur mistakenly targeted by Trump-era Venezuela restrictions

An Italian restaurant owner who was blacklisted by the Trump administration is now in good standing with Washington, after the businessman was erroneously sanctioned by the US in an apparent case of mistaken identity.

On January 19, the last day of his term, Donald Trump targeted several individuals and companies accused of helping Caracas bypass US sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry. One of the alleged conspirators was Alessandro Bazzoni, an Italian national accused by the US Treasury Department of facilitating the purchase and sale of Venezuelan crude. 

While slapping sanctions on individuals and entities has become routine for Washington, there appears to have been a small clerical error this time around. The US government ended up blacklisting a restaurant owner in Verona, Italy who goes by the same name. 

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Earlier this week, the Treasury Department acknowledged the error and removed the restaurant-owning Bazzoni from its blacklist. An official from the department told the Hill that after receiving “additional information” about his case, it was determined that the US government had targeted the wrong guy. 

“Consequently, we promptly removed the two companies from our list to avoid inadvertently harming innocent parties,” the official told the outlet. 

The now-lifted sanctions had blocked any assets that Bazzoni may have had in the US, and prevented American citizens from doing business with him. 

For his part, the Italian restaurateur said that he was glad that he was no longer part of the feud between Caracas and Washington.

“They resolved the problem. I shouldn’t be involved anymore,” he said in an interview. “It was a mistake… thankfully it was all resolved in a couple of months.”

The Trump administration imposed a range of sanctions on Venezuela after claiming that the country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, was illegitimate. So far the Biden administration has maintained the economic pressure, but has claimed that it wants to be more precise with the restrictions in order not to hurt ordinary Venezuelans. 

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Source:RT World News

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