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Trump administration sanctions 4 more Venezuelan officials

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrives at the Houari Boumedien Airport in Algiers for a two-day visit on September 10, 2017. (Billal Bensalem/APP/Abaca Press/TNS)

The Trump administration on Friday slapped economic sanctions on four senior Venezuelan officials, accusing them of corruption and oppression in the crackdown on anti-government dissidents.

President Nicolas Maduro and his inner circle “continue to put their own interests above those of the Venezuelan people,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement announcing the latest penalties against members of Maduro’s administration.

The four targeted Venezuelans include Rodolfo Clemente Marco Torres, the governor of the northern coastal state of Aragua. The retired army general is an oil company executive and former president of the Bank of Venezuela.

Also sanctioned were Fabio Enrique Zavarse Pabon, a general commanding the national guard that attacked street protesters last year in a clash that left more than 100 people dead; Francisco Jose Rangel Gomez, a former state governor and retired army general; and army Gen. Gerardo Jose Izquierdo Torres, who is also a senior border control official.

Under the sanctions, no U.S. firm or individual may do business with the four, and any assets they might have in the U.S. will be frozen.

Maduro, an authoritarian socialist who has crippled many of Venezuela’s democratic institutions, is already on the U.S. sanctions blacklist, part of a campaign started under the Obama administration and intensified by President Donald Trump to put pressure on Caracas.

Venezuela is suffering a devastating food shortage and other economic ills blamed in part on government mismanagement and malfeasance.

“We call on concerned parties and international partners around the world to join us as we stand with the Venezuelan people to further isolate this oppressive regime,” Mnuchin said.

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© 2018 Los Angeles Times

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.