The move follows similar measures that seek to disrupt members and supporters of Maduro’s government, in the midst of diplomatic and political actions to bring about changes to help curb Venezuela’s serious humanitarian problems.
This time, sanctions fell on commander Rafael Enrique Bastardo Mendoza, who leads the Special Action Forces (FAES, in Spanish), and commander Iván Rafael Hernández Dala, head of military counterintelligence (DGCIM, in Spanish).
“The United States is publicly designating [both officials] for their involvement in gross violations of human rights,” said the U.S. government in a press release.
In addition, authorities designated Bastardo’s wife, Jeisy Catherine Leal Andarcia, and Hernández’ wife, Luzbel Carolina Colmenares Morales, as well as their minor children.
The designated “are ineligible for entry into the United States.” The U.S. government leads the initiatives of more than 50 nations worldwide that reject Maduro’s government and support Interim President Juan Guaidó.
The announcement said “the security and intelligence organizations led by Bastardo and Hernández have been implicated for their human rights violations and abuses and the repression of civil society and the democratic opposition.”
In turn, it explained that their actions “were documented extensively in the July 5, 2019 report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as by credible reports by other human rights organizations.”
The report, issued by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet after visiting the country, recognized at least 7523 extrajudicial executions. The sanctions also seek to rebuke officials accused of corruption, the press release indicated.