Treasury announces new Venezuela sanctions

The Treasury Department announced Monday it was imposing new sanctions on Venezuelans connected to embattled President Nicolás Maduro’s government.
The sanctions target the governors of four Venezuelan states, who Treasury alleges are involved in “endemic corruption” and the blocking of critical humanitarian aid to the country. 
“The illegitimate Maduro regime’s attempts to blockade international aid intended for the Venezuelan people are shameful,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “Treasury is targeting four state governors aligned with former President Maduro for standing in the way of severely needed humanitarian assistance and prolonging the suffering of the Venezuelan people.”
The new round of sanctions comes as Vice President Pence is in Bogota, Colombia, to meet with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who last month was sworn in as interim president in a direct challenge to Maduro.
{mosads}Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control earlier this month stepped up sanctions on Maduro’s intelligence services and management of the state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela.
The new sanctions target the governor of Apure state, Ramón Carrizales, who is also a former vice president and former Army colonel; the governor of Vargas state and former minister of defense Jorge García Carneiro; Rafael Lacava, governor of Carabobo state; and Omar Prieto, the governor of Zulia state.
Pence is also meeting with Colombian President Iván Duque, a top administration ally in the region, and representatives of the Lima Group, a coalition of Latin American countries plus Canada who oppose Maduro.
The vice president’s presence in the region is meant to bolster the Trump administration’s call for Maduro to step down and allow Guaidó to call for new elections.
Over the weekend, a standoff over foreign aid developed on Venezuela’s borders with Brazil and Colombia, as well as on its Caribbean coastline, as U.S. allies tried to deliver humanitarian aid with a political message for Maduro to step down.
Paramilitary forces loyal to Maduro blocked most of the aid, which the government characterized as foreign intervention, and Maduro severed diplomatic ties with Colombia.
At least two people were killed by security forces at Venezuela’s border with Brazil.
The Trump administration has promised ever increasing sanctions on Venezuelan individuals and entities who support Maduro, but has so far stopped short of imposing a full-fledged oil embargo against the country.
Tags Steven Mnuchin

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