US Treasury Targets More Venezuelan Officials

Samuel Allegri
By Samuel Allegri
November 5, 2019Worldshare
US Treasury Targets More Venezuelan Officials
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks during a news briefing at the White House in Washington on Aug. 25, 2017. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Five Venezuelan officials have been identified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and had their property and interests in property blocked due to their alleged human rights violations.

Executive Order (E.O.) 13884 “blocks the property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela and those who have acted or purported to have acted on its behalf,” reads a statement from the Department of the Treasury.

The Treasury Department’s press release stated these steps were harmonizing U.S. sanctions with the sanctions of other countries.

“Treasury is identifying high-level officials acting on behalf of the oppressive regime of former Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, which continues to engage in egregious levels of corruption and human rights abuses,” said Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin.

“This action harmonizes our efforts with those of international partners like Canada and the European Union that have imposed sanctions against former Maduro regime officials.”

The new identifications occurred on Nov. 5, and they are directed at the current Venezuelan Government officials and those associated and acting on their behalf, including those who are still gaining profit from the oppressive former regime.

The officials, who have previously been targeted by the European Union or Canada, have been linked to violence against opposition protesters and to corruption under Maduro’s socialist government, the Treasury Department said.

“Treasury’s identifications today reflect a unified effort against the illegitimate former Maduro regime, as all of the individuals below were previously sanctioned by the European Union (EU) or Canada,” reads the statement.

The sanctions come as part of an effort to push for Maduro’s resignation, the socialist leader who has been in charge of the country during its economic collapse, and who is accused of human rights violations and corruption.

Private companies—from software provider Adobe Inc to Florida banks to Major League Baseball—have said they were not comfortable engaging in normal business activity in Venezuela or involving Venezuelan individuals, given the risk that some transactions could involve state entities.

Washington said on Tuesday that Venezuelan public employees and contractors who work at hospitals, schools and universities should not have their U.S. assets blocked under the measure.

The identified Venezuelan officials are:

  • Remigio Ceballos Ichaso, an Admiral in the Venezuelan Navy and Commander of the Strategic Operational Command of the National Armed Forces.
  • Nestor Neptali Blanco Hurtado, a Major in the Bolivarian National Guard.
  • Jose Adelino Ornelas Ferreira, the Secretary-General of the National Defense Council.
  • Pedro Miguel Carreno Escobar, a Deputy of the illegitimate Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly.
  • Carlos Alberto Calderon Chirinos, a senior official in Bolivarian National Intelligence Service.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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