By Caribbean News Global
Washington, USA – The United States Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated seven Venezuelan government officials who, on behalf of former Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, led a failed attempt to illegitimately seize control of the National Assembly and block interim president Juan Guaidó and other deputies from participating in a constitutionally required election of National Assembly leadership.
Seven individuals have been designated as current or former officials of the government of Venezuela for their actions undermining democracy: Luis Eduardo Parra Rivero; Jose Gregorio Noriega Figueroa; Franklyn Leonardo Duarte; Jose Dionisio Brito Rodriguez; Conrado Antonio Perez Linares; Adolfo Ramon Superlano; and Negal Manuel Morales Llovera.
“Treasury has designated seven corrupt National Assembly officials who, at the bidding of Maduro, attempted to block the democratic process in Venezuela,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “These and other designated officials can have sanctions removed if they side with the people of Venezuela and Juan Guaidó as their legitimate leader.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the new sanctions demonstrated the “United States’ continued commitment to the Venezuelan people in their struggle to restore democracy and prosperity. Maduro’s repressive and illegal attempts to stifle the democratic will of the Venezuelan people reveal once more his desperation,” Pompeo said in a statement.
On January 5, Maduro-controlled security forces prevented Guaidó and around 100 opposition delegates of the National Assembly from entering the Federal Legislative Palace. A small group of Maduro-aligned National Assembly delegates attempted to obstruct the constitutionally mandated process and, instead, held a fraudulent election lacking a quorum.
These designations are pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13692, as amended, which authorizes sanctions against current or former officials of the government of Venezuela and others undermining democratic processes or institutions in Venezuela.
The sanctions on Monday focus on the seven Maduro-aligned National Assembly delegates who took steps to undermine the elections process in the National Assembly. The group is led by Luis Eduardo Parra Rivero, who continues to obstruct the proceedings of the National Assembly. Additionally, Parra and the other delegates highlighted above supported an illegitimate vote without a quorum while security forces loyal to Maduro physically prevented the majority of National Assembly delegates, including Guaidó and opposition delegates, from entering the building for the vote.
Parra, along with Adolfo Superlano, Conrado Perez, and Jose Brito, are already under investigation at the direction of interim president Juan Guaidó for corruption.
Parra, in a statement, said he “energetically and categorically” rejected the sanctions and said it was unacceptable for foreign nations to meddle in the Venezuelan congress’ actions.