On Tuesday, the federal government put more sanctions on members of the Maduro regime in charge of Venezuela as Republicans in the Florida delegation backed the administration’s decision.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned “Venezuelan individuals and companies involved in a significant corruption scheme designed to take advantage of the Government of Venezuela’s currency exchange practices, generating more than $2.4 billion in corrupt proceeds."
The Treasury Department listed out the individuals sanctioned.
“This designation, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13850, targets seven individuals, including former Venezuelan National Treasurer Claudia Patricia Diaz Guillen (Diaz) and Raul Antonio Gorrin Belisario (Gorrin), who bribed the Venezuelan Office of the National Treasury (ONT, or Oficina Nacional del Tesoro) in order to conduct illicit foreign exchange operations in Venezuela. In addition to Diaz and Gorrin, OFAC designated or blocked five other individuals and 23 entities, pursuant to E.O. 13850, for their roles in the bribery scheme, and identified one private aircraft as blocked property,” the department noted.
“Venezuelan regime insiders have plundered billions of dollars from Venezuela while the Venezuelan people suffer. Treasury is targeting this currency exchange network which was another illicit scheme that the Venezuelan regime had long used to steal from its people,” said U.S. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin. “Our actions against this corrupt currency exchange network expose yet another deplorable practice that Venezuela regime insiders have used to benefit themselves at the expense of the Venezuelan people. The United States remains committed to holding accountable those responsible for Venezuela’s tragic decline, and will continue to use diplomatic and economic tools to support the Venezuelan people’s efforts to restore their democracy.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues, applauded the sanctions.
“As Maduro prepares for another illegitimate term as dictator, the United States is sending a strong message against his corrupt narcoterrorist regime. The individuals and entities sanctioned have enriched themselves through illegal exchange transactions. Today, our nation is holding them accountable and continuing to stand firmly with the Venezuelan people’s cause for freedom and democracy,” Rubio said.
Other members of the Florida delegation also backed the sanctions.
“I commend the Trump administration for imposing tough sanctions on seven individuals and twenty-three entities involved in widespread corruption in Venezuela,” said U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla. “According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, today’s sanctions targeted a corruption and bribery scheme that resulted in the illicit taking of more than $2.4 billion in wealth that belonged to the Venezuelan people. As the U.S. Treasury Department revealed, the Venezuelan Office of the National Treasury (ONT) has been plagued by corruption from its top officials through currency manipulation and bribery for years. It is shameful that while the Venezuelan people are suffering under crushing oppression, a cratering economy, and scarcity, that the Maduro regime continues to plunder the people’s resources. I will continue to work with my colleagues and the administration to ensure that those found responsible for corruption, human rights abuses, and denigrating Venezuela’s once democratic institutions will be held accountable for their crimes.”