[News] Barack Obama Brands Venezuela a "Security Threat, " Implements New Sanctions

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Mar 10 10:58:41 EDT 2015

  U.S. President Barack Obama Brands Venezuela a "Security Threat,"
  Implements New Sanctions

By Lucas Koerne

*Caracas, March 9, 2015 (**Venezuelanalysis.com* 
<http://venezuelanalysis.com/>*) – *U.S. President Barack Obama issued 
an executive order this Monday slapping Venezuela with new sanctions and 
declaring the Bolivarian nation an "unusual and extraordinary threat to 
the national security".

The sanctions target seven individuals accused by the White House of 
alleged human rights violations and "public corruption", freezing their 
assets and barring entry into the U.S.

The figures include Justo Jose Noguera Pietri, President of the state 
entity, the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana (CVG) and Katherine 
Nayarith Haringhton Padron, a national level prosecutor currently taking 
the lead in the trials of several Venezuelan political opposition 
leaders, including Leopoldo Lopez.

The executive order is the latest in a series of U.S. sanctions imposed 
on Venezuela over the past few months. On February 3, the Obama 
administration expanded the list of Venezuelan officials barred from 
entering the U.S., which now includes the Chief Prosecutor Luis Ortega 
Diaz <http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/11181>.

"Venezuelan officials past and present who violate the human rights of 
Venezuelan citizens and engage in acts of public corruption will not be 
welcome here, and we now have the tools to block their assets and their 
use of U.S. financial systems," announced White House spokesman Josh 

The U.S. has failed thus far to disclose evidence that might bolster its 
claims of human rights violations, leading Venezuelan and other regional 
leaders to condemn what they regard as the arbitrary and political 
character of U.S. sanctions <http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/11184>.

While regional bodies such as the Union of South American Nations 
(UNASUR) have called for dialogue, Washington has so far refused to 
support negotiations or to recognise the organisation's stance.

"We will continue to work closely with others in the region to support 
greater political expression in Venezuela, and to encourage the 
Venezuelan government to live up to its shared commitment, as 
articulated in the OAS Charter, the Inter American Democratic Charter, 
and other relevant instruments related to democracy and human rights," 
reads the latest White House statement.

The order goes on to call for the release of all "political prisoners" 
allegedly held by the Venezuelan government, including "dozens of 

The Venezuelan government, for its part, maintains that all of those 
arrested are in the process of facing trial for criminal offences linked 
to violent destabilization efforts spearheaded by the opposition 

Former Caracas Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma was arrested last 
month on charges of conspiracy and sedition related to the February 12 
thwarted "Blue Coup" attempt. A Venezuelan judge found sufficient 
evidence linking the opposition figure to air force officials involved 
in the coup <http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/11238> as well as to 
rightwing terrorist leaders such as Lorent Saleh, who was extradited by 
Colombian authorities to face charges last year 

The other high profile Venezuelan opposition leader currently facing 
trial is Leopoldo López, who was indicted for his role in leading 
several months of violent opposition protests last year with the aim of 
effecting the "exit", or ouster, of the constitutional government 
<http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/11211>. Known as the "guarimbas", 
these violent protests and street barricades caused the death of 43 
people, the majority of whom were security personnel or Chavistas 

Ledezma and López,  together with far right leader Maria Corina Machado, 
were active in the 2002 coup against then president Hugo Chávez, which 
succeeded in temporarily ousting the Venezuelan leader until he was 
restored by a popular uprising.

All three opposition leaders also signed a "National Transition 
Agreement" released on the day prior to February's "Blue Coup" attempt, 
describing the government of Nicolas Maduro as in its "terminal phase" 
and declaring the need to "name new authorities" without mentioning 
elections or other constitutional mechanisms. Many political 
commentators interpreted the document as an open call for a coup against 
the president.

The Venezuelan government has charged the U.S. government with hypocrisy 
on the issue of human rights, and in particular the mass repression and 
incarceration of Afrodescendent communities in the U.S.

On February 28, President Maduro announced new measures imposing a 
reciprocal travel visa requirements on U.S. citizens seeking to enter 
Venezuela as well as mandating a reduction in U.S. embassy staff to 
levels that match the number of Venezuelan personnel in Washington 

Maduro also announced the creation of an "anti-terrorist list" of 
individuals barred from entering Venezuela, which will include former 
U.S. officials such as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who have 
reportedly "committed human rights violations."

Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez, has confirmed that the 
Bolivarian government will soon issue an official response to the order.
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