Two of senior lawmakers, who are previously known for their opposition to the Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE, now have warned the cabinet members of US President Donald Trump that the company’s business involvement with Venezuela may have violated the terms of a settlement agreement it struck with the US government. Wilbur Ross – Commerce Secretary, Steven Mnuchin – Treasury Secretary, Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, and Republican Senator Marco Rubio have submitted a letter to Mike Pompeo – Secretary of State cited a Reuters report about ZTE’s provision of a population database for the Venezuelan government.
According to the Reuters report, the database allows the Venezuelan government to monitor its citizens with help of a centralized video surveillance and other methods. The components for this massive surveillance system has been manufactured by the US infrastructure company Dell Technologies. The letter states “ZTE installed data storage units built by Dell Technologies. Though Dell’s transaction appears to have been dealt with ZTE in China, we are concerned ZTE may have violated US export controls by misidentifying the purpose of the end-use and its end-users. As Venezuelan government hired ZTE to build a database and develop a mobile payment system for a smart ID card, ZTE reportedly embedded its employees in a unit of Venezuela’s state telecommunication firm names CANTV – the president of which is subject to the US sanctions.”
According to the US state government – “The country has in place financial sector sanctions meant to deny Venezuela a critical source of financing with which it maintains its rule…and protect the US financial system against complicity in Venezuela’s corruption and in the impoverishment of the Venezuelan people.”