Treasury targets Maduro's wife, inner circle with financial sanctions

Treasury targets Maduro's wife, inner circle with financial sanctions
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The Trump administration on Tuesday targeted four members of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s inner circle with financial sanctions, including his wife and vice president.

The Treasury Department announced financial sanctions Tuesday against Venezuelan first lady and former attorney general Cilia Adela Flores de Maduro, executive vice president Delcy Eloína Rodríguez Gómez, communications ministerJorge Jesús Rodríguez Gómez and defense minister Vladimir Padrino López.

All four targeted officials play critical roles in Maduro’s government and will be blocked from the U.S. financial system. Any of their assets based in the U.S. will be frozen, and U.S. firms and individuals are banned from any financial transactions with the Maduro aides.

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Tuesday's sanctions are the latest U.S. effort to penalize government officials critical to Maduro’s control over Venezuela amid a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis. Maduro has sought to solidify his grip on Venezuela amid hyperinflation, food shortages and reports of human rights abuses committed by the government.

“President Maduro relies on his inner circle to maintain his grip on power, as his regime systematically plunders what remains of Venezuela’s wealth,” Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinWhite House encouraging investment in Middle East as part of peace plan Trump, China and trade: Who blinks first? On The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada MORE said in a statement.

“We are continuing to designate loyalists who enable Maduro to solidify his hold on the military and the government while the Venezuelan people suffer.”

Treasury also announced sanctions against a network of companies maintained by businessman Rafael Alfredo Sarría Díaz as a front organization for Diosdado Cabello Rondón, the president of Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly.

The administration targeted three companies based in Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and Spain; the director of one of the firms; Sarría Díaz’s U.S.-based private jet; and the jet’s pilot.

The Trump administration has previously targeted Maduro, former Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, and more than a dozen other government officials and Maduro allies since 2017.