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Some clues to US sanctions against Venezuelan officials

Tension between the governments of Venezuela and the United States escalated after US President Barack Obama issued an executive order Monday (March 9) authorizing sanctions against Venezuelan officials. Following are a series of clues to this process

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Tension between the governments of Venezuela and the United States escalated after US President Barack Obama issued an executive order Monday (March 9) authorizing sanctions against Venezuelan officials. Following are a series of clues to this process.

What did the US president do on Monday March 9, 2015?

Obama signed an executive order to impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials involved in violations of human rights, freedom of expression and corruption. The president made the decision based on the authority vested in him as President and the laws of the United States of America, including the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014.

What is the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act?

It is a law used to regulate the manner in which the executive branch of the US can impose targeted sanctions on certain Venezuelan officials. The bill was passed by the US Senate on December 9, and later passed the House on December 10, and was signed into law by Obama on December 18.

Why in the executive order Venezuela is declared an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”?

The phrase has caused quite a stir. However, a US Treasury Department spokeswoman said it is the standard language of all their sanctions, including those against countries like Syria and Iran. That is, to punish officials, Obama must declare that the situation in Venezuela poses a threat to the US.

What do sanctions consist of?

Officials are penalized in two ways; namely, by suspending entry into the US of those named under the order (under the responsibility of the Department of State, by means of the restriction on visas), and by freezing the assets and blocking the US property, and interests in US property, of those targeted, and barring Americans from doing business with them (under the responsibility of the Treasury Department).

Who is affected by these sanctions?

The seven individuals listed in the annex of the executive order.

Do sanctions affect trade between Venezuela and the United States?

No. The sanctions are aimed at specific individuals. In fact, the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 does not include the authority to impose sanctions on the importation of goods.

Why were the names of the seven sanctioned officials made public?

Because the Treasury Department and the White House need to release the names of officials targeted with economic sanctions into the public domain so that their assets can be frozen, and for individuals and companies to know they cannot do business with them.

Via eluniversal.com