President Barack Obama signed an executive order today imposing sanctions on seven Venezuelan government officials for committing human rights violations, and declared a national emergency with respect to Venezuela. The executive order implements and expands on the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act, signed by the president in December 2014.
“Venezuelan officials past and present who violate the human rights of Venezuelan citizens and engage in acts of public corruption will not be welcome here, and we now have the tools to block their assets and their use of U.S. financial systems,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. “The executive order does not target the people or the economy of Venezuela.”
The executive order targets those determined by the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of State, to be involved in:
Actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions;
Significant acts of violence or conduct that constitutes a serious abuse or violation of human rights, including against persons involved in antigovernment protests in Venezuela in or since February 2014;
Actions that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or peaceful assembly; or
Public corruption by senior officials within the government of Venezuela.
The executive order also authorizes the Treasury Department, in consultation with the Department of State, to target any person determined:
To be a current or former leader of an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in any activity described in the executive order, or of an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked or frozen pursuant to the executive order; or
To be a current or former official of the government of Venezuela;
The president imposed sanctions on the following seven individuals listed in the annex to the executive order:
Antonio José Benavides Torres, Commander of the Strategic Region for the Integral Defense of the Central Region of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces, and former Director of Operations for Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard;
Gustavo Enrique González López, Director General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service and President of Venezuela’s Strategic Center of Security and Protection of the Homeland;
Justo José Noguera Pietri: President of the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana, a state-owned entity, and former General Commander of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard;
Katherine Nayarith Haringhton Padron, national level prosecutor of the 20th District Office of Venezuela’s Public Ministry;
Manuel Eduardo Pérez Urdaneta, director of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Police.
Manuel Gregorio Bernal Martínez, Chief of the 31st Armored Brigade of Caracas of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Army and former Director General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and
Miguel Alcides Vivas Landino, Inspector General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces and former Commander of the Strategic Region for the Integral Defense of the Andes Region of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces.