The Trump administration slapped additional sanctions on the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros (Maduro).
On Friday, June 28th, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin announced that new sanctions are being placed on Nicolás “Nicolasito” Ernesto Maduro Guerra, 29, the son of Maduro. These new sanctions mean that “all property and interests in property” belonging to Maduro Guerra are “blocked,” according to a press release from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Maduro’s regime was built on fraudulent elections, and his inner circle lives in luxury off the proceeds of corruption while the Venezuelan people suffer,” said Mnuchin in the press release. “Maduro relies on his son Nicolasito and others close to his authoritarian regime to maintain a stranglehold on the economy and suppress the people of Venezuela. Treasury will continue to target complicit relatives of illegitimate regime insiders profiting off of Maduro’s corruption.”
The Treasury Department accused Maduro Guerra of being a propagandist for his father’s regime, which the U.S. and other allied governments recognize as illegitimate. It also said he used his political power to block humanitarian aid, along with other financial misdeeds.
Although Maduro still enjoys the support of the Venezuelan military, at least 50 other countries—including the United States—recognize self-appointed interim president Juan Guaidó—head of the National Assembly—as the legitimate leader in the South American country. According to a report from the BBC, Guaidó has yet to seize power.
These new sanctions could be part of a broader strategy the White House is employing to push Maduro and his subordinates out of power. A report from Reuters published last week indicated that Elliott Abrams, the U.S. special envoy to Venezuela, confirmed the Trump administration is still working to support Guaidó. Abrams also met with former Venezuelan Gen. Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera (Cristopher), a former chief of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Agency who recently defected to the United States.
“We’re happy he is here—makes it easier to have more conversations with him,” Abrams said of Cristopher, according to Reuters.