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.”
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The U.S. State Department is extending the deployment of 1,200 National Guard troops to U.S. border states with Mexico for an additional 90 days.
- The owner of the casino in Monterrey, Mexico where 52 people died last month in an arson attack gave a statement to the Mexican Attorney General’s Office representatives in Florida.
- Gov. Susana Martínez of New Mexico said that her grandparents came to the United States illegally from Mexico.
- More than one million customers without power are without power in Mexico, southern California and Arizona
- The United States should plan to help Cuba in the event of an offshore oil spill, according to William Reilly, co-chairman of a commission that examined the Deepwater Horizon spill.
- Haitian President Michel Martelly announced a new panel of business executives and bankers that he hopes can make his country a more business friendly environment and attract foreign investment.
- Mahadeo Roopchand Sadloo, a fervent supporter of former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, was killed in a hail of bullets on Wednesday.
- The attorney representing deposed Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega said Wednesday that he wants a French judge to authorize the former leader’s conditional release.
- Former Guatemalan Gen. Otto Pérez Molina is leading the polls in the run-up to Sunday’s presidential election.
- The Salvadoran men’s soccer team shocked the sporting world by defeating Italy in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Ravenna 2011 quarterfinals.
- Peru’s Supreme Court shortened the prison sentence of Antauro Humala, brother of Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, from 25 to 19 years for the killing of four policemen in 2005.
- Ecuador may have a new National Court of Justice by January 2012, according to an announcement made Thursday by the president of Ecuador’s Transitional Judicial Council.
- The wreckage of a small plane that went missing over the Bolivian Amazon on Tuesday was found Thursday, with no survivors among the nine aboard.
- Chilean student leaders met Thursday to determine their response to Chilean President Sebastián Piñera’s offer for face-to-face talks over education reforms and funding.
- At a lunch with Uruguayan President José “Pepe” Mujica, Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim announced Thursday that Brazil would begin the withdrawal of its U.N. peacekeeping forces from Haiti by reducing troop presence by 15 percent.
- The Uruguayan government is considering a plan to invest $1.3 billion in the development of wind farms over the next four years to save electricity costs.
- Argentines are debating how to restore a cast of Auguste Rodin’s famous “The Thinker” sculpture, which was vandalized with spray paint last week in Buenos Aires.