The United States has pledge US$20 million in humanitarian aid to Venezeula, as it seeks to ensure that Venezuelan oil revenue goes to opposition leader Juan Guaido, who swore himself in as interim president, and to cut off money from the increasingly isolated President Nicolas Maduro.
The announcement signals that Washington is willing to go beyond traditional diplomatic measures and will seek to drain cash from Maduro's government which is already struggling under an unprecedented economic meltdown.
Such a move would significantly strengthen the hand of Guaido, an opposition leader and head of congress who swore himself in as interim head of state on Wednesday with the support of Washington and nations around the region.
"What we're focusing on today is disconnecting the illegitimate Maduro regime from the sources of his revenues," national security advisor John Bolton told reporters at the White House.
"We think consistent with our recognition of Juan Guaido as the constitutional interim president of Venezuela that those revenues should go to the legitimate government."
Bolton added that the process was "very complicated" and that officials were still studying how this would function.
Venezuela's information ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the issue.
Guaido did not respond to a message seeking comment.