United States: new sanctions imposed on Venezuelan officials

Four more officials add up to the 40 high-profile ones sanctioned by the US for corruption and repression during the government of Maduro

Four more officials add up to the 40 high-profile ones sanctioned by the US for corruption and repression during the government of Maduro

The United States government adds four more Venezuelan officials to its blacklist, associated with corruption and repression during the presidency of Nicolás Maduro, whom Trump himself has labeled a dictator. The four sanctioned include a governor and a member of Maduro’s cabinet, a former governor and two high-ranking military. Their assets are frozen, and Americans are barred from doing business with them. The Department of Treasury has also forbidden banks from trading or buying newly issued Venezuelan debt.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stated in a press release that "President Maduro and his inner circle continue to put their own interests above those of the Venezuelan people. This action underscores the United States' resolve to hold Maduro and others engaged in corruption in Venezuela accountable". Additionally, Mnuchin said that the four targeted officials "have forsaken the professional republican mission of the military institution", which, per Venezuela's 1999 Constitution, is to be "with no political orientation ... and in no case at the service of any person or political partisanship". These four officials add up to the forty pro-government Venezuelans that have been sanctioned by the United States so far. According to the statement published by the Department of Treasury, these are the charges that justify the sanctions against high-ranking military officers:

  • Rodolfo Clemente Marco Torres: Retired general and governor of Aragua state and External Director of the State oil company PDVSA. He was Minister of State for Public Banking, Minister of Food and Director of the Bank of Venezuela. The US Treasury sanctioned Marco Torres for food smuggling, controlled by the Venezuelan army.
  • Francisco José Rangel Gómez: Retired military from the National Army and ex-governor of Bolivar state. Rangel was accused of corruption activities, such as the reinforcement of armed bands in Bolívar and pressuring Venezuelan courts to release suspected members of armed pro-government gangs during his time as governor.
  • Fabio Enrique Zavarse Pabón: The commander of general division of the Bolivarian National Guard, Fabio Enrique Zavarse Pabón, was accused of using National Guard troops to violently repress street riots against Maduro.
  • Gerardo José Izquierdo Torres: The Army Lieutenant General and Frontier Minister, Gerardo José Izquierdo Torres has used his position for illicit enrichment at the expense of the Venezuelan people.

Previously, Trump's administration had sanctioned president Maduro himself and the vice president of Venezuela, Tareck El Aissami. Although that these four sanctions may not have as much repercussion as those announced last year, it shows a clear message of disapproval from the United States, which condemns the authoritarian regime that imprisons Venezuela and uses the high-ranking military as puppets for corruption and repression against Venezuelans. Trump, through these actions, pressures Maduro and shows a firm denunciation against him on the international community.

The condemnatory decision of the US government keeps Maduro against the wall, which is reflected in the negotiation table with the Venezuelan opposition, where it demands the approval of National Constituent Assembly, which would supposedly alleviate international sanctions. On the other hand, US and other countries position against Maduro's regime, only proves that sanctions would stop with the restoration of democracy in Venezuela.


Latin American Post | María de los Ángeles Rubio

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda

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