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White House Requested To Investigate ZTE Role In Venezuela By U.S. Senators: Reuters

White House Requested To Investigate ZTE Role In Venezuela By U.S. Senators: Reuters
The Trump administration has been asked by two U.S. senators to conduct an inquiry into alleged violation of US sanctions by the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp had helped the setting up of a database for monitoring of the behavior of citizens in Venezuela. 
According to a report published by global news agency Reuters, the U.S. secretaries of state, treasury and commerce would be asked by Senators Chris Van Hollen and Marco Rubio to investigate into allegations of ZTE teaming up with certain individuals identified by U.S. sanctions, or the unlawful use of U.S. components or aided the Venezuela’s government top violate human rights. This appeal is to be made in a letter by the two Senators.
The report further states that the request has already been made on Wednesday.
Earlier this year, ZTE was found guilty of violation of the US sanctions on Iran and North Korea and paid a fine of $1 billion to the U.S. government.
The US sanctions on Venezuela have been termed as an “economic war” aimed to topple his leftist government by President Nicolas Maduro who is struggling to with an economic catastrophe and hyperinflation in the country.
Previous U.S. measures against ZTE had been backed by Democrat Senator Van Hollen and a Republican Rubio.
A state government run company of China is the largest share holder of ZTE and has been accused of enabling the Chinese government in the process of supplying surveillance tactics and equipment to some of the most authoritarian government across the world.
There has been significant cooperation between ZTE and the Venezuelan government in m,ultiple project – the most notable among which are in partnership with Compania Anonima Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela which is also known as the Cantv and is the state run telecommunications company.
Based on charges of authoritative behavior and human rights violations, the US had sanctioned a number of senior Venezuelan officials, including Maduro and Cantv President Manuel Fernandez.
Reuters, which had conducted an investigation into the role of ZTE, had found evidence that a data base system capable to monitoring the behaviour of Venezuelan citizens via the use of a national identity card had been helped to be set up by the Venezuelan government by ZTE. Information such as whether a person voted, political affiliation, financial and medical histories and the usage of social media can be tracked by the ID which is known in the country as the “fatherland card”.
Concern over whether components made by Dell Technologies Inc had been installed in the data base by ZTE is one of the issues for the senators.
The Senators asked in the letter “whether ZTE violated U.S. export controls with respect to the installation of data storage units built by Dell.”

Christopher J. Mitchell

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