WASHINGTON: The United States has imposed sanctions on five Venezuelan security officials and political figures over violence and corruption.
The US Treasury Department said in a statement that, the Venezuelan officials have been linked to violence against opposition protesters and to corruption under Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.
The five blacklisted individuals include Remigio Ceballos Ichaso, the top operational official in Venezuela’s armed forces.
The sanctions freeze any assets the officials held in the United States and prohibit US citizens from doing business with them.
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The information ministry of Venezuela did not respond to a request for comment.
The United States, together with other Western countries, recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate president and has used economic penalties on Venezuela’s government and its state oil firm to press Maduro to step down.
Guaido, who leads the opposition-controlled National Assembly, invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency in January.
He argued that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was a sham. Maduro retains the loyalty of the country’s military and is backed by Russia, China, and Cuba.
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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “Treasury is identifying high-level officials acting on behalf of the oppressive regime of former Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, which continues to engage in egregious levels of corruption and human rights abuses.”
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