Since President Donald Trump took office, he has made clear that the United States stands with the people of Venezuela in their fight for democratic governance, human rights, and the rule of law in the face of efforts by the regime of President Nicolas Maduro to undermine them.
In February, the U.S. designated the executive vice president of Venezuela Tareck El Aissami for his well-established narcotics trafficking, as well as on his primary front man Samark Jose Lopez Bello.
In May, the U.S. sanctioned eight members of Venezuela's Supreme Court of Justice after they attempted to usurp the powers of the democratically elected National Assembly, a stronghold of the political opposition to President Maduro.
On July 26, the United States announced new designations of thirteen other individuals, current and former officials of the government, who are associated with political, economic and social crises currently unfolding in Venezuela.
On July 31, the United States announced the designation of President Maduro. Maduro has been directly responsible for Venezuela’s descent and for the destruction of democracy. Adding Maduro to OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals reflects our commitment to not stand by idly as Venezuela continues to crumble under the regime’s abuses.
Nations from across the region and the globe have publically condemned his government’s actions, including calling for an end to the Constituent Assembly process, violence against protestors, and for national dialogue.
For months the Venezuelan people have taken to the streets to protest the erosion of democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and prosperity in their country. The government has responded with repression and violence. The Venezuelan opposition estimates that up to 15,000 civilians have been wounded and some 100 killed, with more than 3,000 arrested and over 400 political prisoners in detention without a fair trial.
Each of the recently sanctioned individuals has been associated with either corruption, rampant violence against opposition protesters, human rights abuses, or the erosion of democratic governance in Venezuela.
In a statement, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley noted that the U.S. made a promise to the Venezuelan people to not stand by and watch the Maduro regime continue to brutalize its citizens and destroy their democracy. “We keep that promise through sanctions on individuals associated with corruption and violence against the Venezuelan people,” said Ambassador Haley. “We will keep all options on the table…[and] continue to have the backs of the Venezuelan people as they fight to save their once prosperous democracy.”