On 9 March 2015, the US Treasury Department announced that it has designated seven individuals as Specially Designated Nationals (‘SDN’) in view of the situation in Venezuela. The designations are made pursuant to an Executive Order and target individuals alleged to be involved in violence against anti-government protestors, serious human rights abuses, and the arrest or prosecution of individuals for their legitimate exercise of free speech.
Under the sanctions, listed individuals and entities will be barred from entering the United States, will have all of their assets within United States jurisdiction frozen, and US persons will generally be prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
The individuals listed include the director general of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service and the director of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Police. They are:
- Antonio Benavides
- Manuel Bernal
- Gustavo Gonzalez
- Katherine Haringhton
- Justo Noguera
- Manuel Perez
- Miguel Vivas
Speaking on 9 March 2015, US Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew stated that the United States is “committed to defending human rights and advancing democratic governance in Venezuela through the use of financial sanctions”, adding that “Corrupt actions by Venezuelan government officials deprive Venezuela of needed economic resources that could be invested in the Venezuelan people and used to spur economic growth”. Secretary Lew also emphasised that “This Executive Order will be used to protect the US financial system from the illicit financial flows from public corruption in Venezuela”.