The United States Department of Treasury slapped sanctions against the son of the disputed Venezuelan president after it accused him of carrying out numerous crimes to bolster his father's interests.
In serving the sanction, the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has blocked any property or entities owned in the U.S. by Nicolas Maduro's son, Nicolas “Nicolasito” Ernesto Maduro Guerra (Maduro Guerra), and added that any known assets owned "directly or indirectly" by him should be reported to them.
“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,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "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."
The department has accused Maduro Guerra of engaging in propaganda and censorship efforts, pressuring the Venezuelan National Armed Forces to deny humanitarian aid, and leading the National Constituent Assembly, which the feds say sought to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution and dissolve the country's state institutions.
Maduro became the 46th President of Venezuela beginning in 2013 after the death of Hugo Chavez. Despite the country's descent into chaos, Maduro was sworn in for a second term in January of this year in a decision widely condemned by world powers, including the United States, Canada and Brazil. Juan Guaido, who led the opposition of Maduro, has since been recognized by those countries and several others as the rightful leader of Venezuela, while Maduro's regime continues to interfere politically and socially in the region.
Consistent blackouts, lack of food and water and major medical shortages have defined the last few months in Venezuela, and Maduro's military has attempted to block humanitarian aid from other countries as thousands have fled the nation. Maduro has previously accused the United States of leading a "coup d'etat" to undermine his authority and take control of Venezuela's oil reserves.
On Thursday, the OFAC also sanctioned two more Maduro officials who they say "continue to engage in significant corruption and fraud to the detriment of the people of Venezuela." Those individuals are: Luis Alfredo Motta Dominguez, the former minister of Electric Power and president of the National Electric Corporation, and Eustiquio Jose Lugo Gomez, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Investments, and Strategic Alliances for the Ministry of Electric Power.
“The people of Venezuela entrusted their public officials to provide fundamental civic services, like water and electricity," Mnuchin said of the additional sanctions. "The illegitimate Maduro regime exploits the public trust by plundering Venezuelan assets, enriching themselves, and watching idly as basic public systems needlessly and catastrophically fail.”