Washington, Nov 10 (IANS) The US Treasury Department announced sanction against 10 current or former Venezuelan government officials, who it said “are associated with undermining electoral processes, media censorship, or corruption in government-administered food programs in Venezuela”.
The sanctioned officials included Freddy Alirio Bernal Rosales, Venezuela’s minister of urban agriculture, Ernesto Emilio Villegas Poljak, the newly appointed minister of culture and the former minister of communication and information, and Julian Isaias Rodriguez Diaz, ambassador to Italy, Xinhua reported.
As a result of the actions, all assets of these individuals subject to US jurisdiction will be frozen, and US persons will also be generally prohibited from dealing with them.
The sanction followed the Venezuelan national elections on October 15. The US Treasury Department said in an announcement that they were marked by “numerous irregularities that strongly suggest fraud helped the ruling party unexpectedly win a majority of governorships”.
“Despite calls for an independent audit of the election results, the Venezuelan government proceeded to swear in the winning candidates through an oath of office,” said the department.
“Our message remains clear: the United States will not stand aside while the Maduro regime continues to destroy democratic order and prosperity in Venezuela,” said Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin in the announcement.
The US in June announced sanctions on 13 current and former Venezuelan government officials. The sanctions came ahead of the planned July 30 election of the controversial National Constituent Assembly (ANC), which the US Treasury Department says “will have the power to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution and may choose to dissolve Venezuelan state institutions”.
In response, Venezuela rejected the US sanctions.
“We emphatically reject the pretensions and intentions of the U.S. Treasury Department against eight people, among them citizens who have had the privilege of being elected by their own people to the ANC,” said Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza on August 8.
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