Former Venezuelan vice president Ramon Carrizales and former minister of defense Jorge Garcia Carneiro have both been added to the list, along with Socialist Party politicians Rafael Lacava and Omar Prieto.
The new sanctions come as relations between Washington and Caracas continue to deteriorate over the US’ decision to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela, and repeated calls by top American officials for current President Nicolas Maduro to step down.
The new deterrents were announced by the Department of the Treasury as US Vice President Mike Pence attended a meeting of the regional Lima Group of nations in Colombia, where he is expected to announce further punitive measures against Maduro’s government on Monday.
Pence told Guaido at the summit that the US is behind him “100 percent.” Hours earlier, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza blasted US actions on Monday and blamed his country’s economic problems on the US financial blockade and economic warfare. Maduro has repeatedly accused America of trying to foment a coup against him.
Pence also announced other restrictions: “As of today the US will impose additional new sanctions on regimes officials, including three border state governors linked to the weekend violence,” he said.
Top Venezuelan figures already under US restrictions include Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, and Maduro’s wife Cilia Adela Flores de Maduro.
But Washington’s sanctions are not just about individuals. The US has been steadily tightening economic sanctions on Venezuela in recent months and in January the Trump administration imposed sanctions on state oil giant PDVSA, freezing $7 billion of the company’s assets. All this added a negative effect to the nation’s wealth in general.
Despite this, independent journalists who have traveled to Venezuela have reported less chaos than has been depicted by Western media.