All four of those sanctioned are current or former military officials. The Treasury Department said in its announcement that Venezuelan military leaders had violated their institutional independence by helping to violently quash street protests and by profiting from corrupt schemes.
Venezuela’s foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, wrote on Twitter, that “our National Armed Forces are profoundly Bolivarian and their chief interest is defending the independence of the Venezuelan people, obey their popular mandate and the authority of the government of Venezuela.”
“We demand respect for the Venezuelan people and its institutions,” Mr. Arreaza wrote.
Sanctioned by the United States on Friday were Rodolfo Marco Torres, the governor of Aragua state and a former food minister who also sits on the board of the state-run oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.; Francisco Rangel Gómez, a former governor of Bolívar state; Fabio Zavarse Pabón, division general of the Bolivarian National Guard; and Gerardo Izquierdo Torres, major general of the army.
With Friday’s designation, the United States will freeze all assets belonging to the four men under its jurisdiction and prohibit Americans from doing business with them.
Forty-four Venezuelans have now been sanctioned by the United States government — including Mr. Maduro himself, whom the Trump administration has branded a “dictator.” The United States last sanctioned 10 officials, including several government ministers, in November. The Trump administration has also barred Americans from holding new Venezuelan government bonds.
Mr. Maduro has dismissed the sanctions as meddling by the American “empire.”
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