US sanctions 5 Venezuela officials close to Maduro, including oil minister

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 15.02.2019 18:32
Updated 15.02.2019 18:49
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (AP Photo)
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (AP Photo)

The U.S. Treasury announced Friday that it was imposing sanctions on five intelligence and security officials close to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

In a statement, the Treasury said it targeted five officials close to "illegitimate former President Nicolas Maduro," allegedly the individuals "continue to repress democracy" and "engage in significant corruption and fraud."

Those targeted include the head of the Venezuelan National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, SEBIN First Commissioner Hildemaro Jose Rodriguez Mucura, Commander of Venezuela's Directorate General of Military Counter-intelligence Ivan Rafael Hernandez Dala, and Director of the Venezuelan National Police's Special Actions Force (FAES) Rafael Enrique Bastardo Mendoza.

The sanctions mean the Treasury is freezing all assets in U.S. control of the men, and blocking any U.S. person from doing business with them.

Manuel Salvador Quevedo Fernandez, petroleum minister and president of the state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), is also on the list.

In January, the Trump administration sanctioned PDVSA, cutting off access to an important source of income and foreign currency for Caracas.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido invoked a constitutional provision to assume the presidency three weeks ago, arguing that Maduro's re-election last year was a sham.

Most Western countries, including the United States, have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate president, but Maduro retains the backing of Turkey, Russia and China as well as the country's military.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter