This Week in Latin America, Venezuela

U.S. Sanctions Venezuelan Officials For Alleged FARC Ties

September 9, 2011 By Staff

Today in Latin America

Top Story — The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added four Venezuelan government officials close to President Hugo Chávez to its its drug “kingpin” list, prompting Chávez to condemn the move as an example of U.S. aggression towards Venezuela. The four officials facing sanctions from the U.S. are lawmaker Freddy Bernal, Maj. Gen. Cliver Alcalá, intelligence officer Ramón Madriz and the alternate president of the Latin American Parliament Amílcar Figueroa. The sanctions block their assets and prohibit U.S. citizens from dealing with them. In 2003, the U.S. government designated the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as a “significant foreign narcotics trafficker.” The U.S. alleges that the four Venezuelans were involved in arms sales to the FARC as well as coordinating security for the FARC. Relations between Venezuela and Colombia and the U.S. have been tense in recent years due to suspected ties between the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and the Colombian guerrilla group. Venezuelan officials reacted critically to the U.S. sanctions, saying the U.S. was trying to intimidate Venezuela. “A country like that has no moral authority to judge generals and political officials in Venezuela,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro, according to a statement released by Venezuela’s information ministry. “We reject it and we believe that the drug trafficking mafias are there, in a sick society like the United States.”

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