News / Digital

Adobe is blocked in Venezuela following new US sanctions

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Szabo Viktor: Adobe Lightroom Classic

Very few graphic designers, illustrators and even It’s Nice That journalists can imagine doing their job without Adobe products. But this is the situation facing creatives in Venezuela following sanctions placed on the country by the US. Earlier this week users of the creative software in the South American country received an email saying that their accounts would be blocked in accordance with President Trump’s new Executive Order 13884, which bans US businesses from trading with the country.

From 28 October, Venezuelan creatives will no longer be able to use Adobe software or have access to their accounts in order for the company to remain compliant with the order. The White House introduced trade sanctions against the country to isolate an “illegitimate regime from the global financial system and the international community.”

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro was first elected in April 2013 but the legitimacy of the election in May 2018 was disputed, with most opposition parties boycotting the vote. The Venezuelan economy has gone into freefall in recent years, with an inflation rate of 1,300,000% in the 12 months leading up to the elections last year. Approximately four million Venezuelans have left the country.

Speaking to Motherboard, Adobe said: “Adobe will continue customer and partner support activities permitted under the executive order but will pause all activities which are not permitted. We regret any inconvenience this may cause to customers, as we continue to carefully monitor and assess the situation. We will share more details as to how our operations and customer activities might be impacted, as those details become available.”

To add a further sting in the tail, it was first thought that the executive order would prevent Adobe from issuing refunds, but statements since have confirmed that users will at least be refunded for any time period paid for, but not received before the ban kicks in at the end of the month. Behance will not be affected by the block.

As reporters at Motherboard point out, the issue also speaks to the near-monopoly held by Adobe within the arena of creative software.