U.S. - VENEZUELA SANCTIONS
U.S.DT - The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four current or former Venezuelan government officials associated with corruption and repression in Venezuela.
"President Maduro and his inner circle continue to put their own interests above those of the Venezuelan people," said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. "This action underscores the United States' resolve to hold Maduro and others engaged in corruption in Venezuela accountable. We call on concerned parties and international partners around the world to join us as we stand with the Venezuelan people to further isolate this oppressive regime."
These designations, all against senior military officers, highlight that corruption and repression continue to flourish under the Maduro regime, both by those in current government positions and former officials who continue to benefit from a corrupt system, even as Venezuela's citizens, economy, and constitutionally enshrined democratic institutions languish. Most recently, following mayoral elections in which his United Socialist Party of Venezuela all but swept a largely uncontested field, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro threatened to ban political parties that boycotted the elections from future involvement in the political process. Venezuela's illegitimate Constituent Assembly subsequently issued a decree that made good on the threat and effectively stripped three of Venezuela's influential opposition parties of their right to participate in next year's presidential election. Through their own continuing actions, the four officials designated today have forsaken the professional republican mission of the military institution, which, per Venezuela's 1999 Constitution, is to be "with no political orientation ... and in no case at the service of any person or political partisanship."
As a result of today's actions, all assets of the following current or former officials of the Government of Venezuela that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.
Rodolfo Clemente Marco Torres is the Governor of Aragua State and is an External Director on the Board of Directors of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA). Marco Torres previously held the positions of Minister of Economy and Finances, President of the Bank of Venezuela, and Minister of Food, and is a retired General from the National Bolivarian Armed Forces. Marco Torres has been allegedly linked to corruption schemes related to food imports, which are controlled by the Venezuelan military.
Francisco Jose Rangel Gomez is a former Governor of Bolivar State and is retired from the National Army, with the rank of Division General. Rangel Gomez has been linked to corruption activities, such as strengthening armed gangs operating in Bolivar and pressuring courts to release gang members that are apprehended, during his time as Governor. Rangel Gomez has also been linked to networks of allegedly corrupt military officials.
Fabio Enrique Zavarse Pabon, Division General of the Bolivarian National Guard, is the Commander of the Capital Integral Defense Operational Zone of the National Armed Forces and also directed the Bolivarian National Guard Forces in the Capital District of Venezuela. Zavarse Pabon is allegedly responsible for acts of repression by members of the Bolivarian National Guard against street protestors in Venezuela.
Gerardo Jose Izquierdo Torres, Major General of the Army, is the State Minister for the New Border of Peace and the Executive Secretary of the Presidential Border Commission. He has allegedly used his positions to profit from corruption at the expense of the Venezuelan people.
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