The Treasury Department of the United States has included Thursday in its list of sanctions the three children of the Venezuelan president’s wife, Nicolás Maduro, and seven others for their alleged involvement in the alleged irregularities in the distribution of food and transactions with gold.
Those included in the ‘blacklist’ of the Treasury are Walter, Yoswal and Yosser Gavidia Flores, children of Cilia Flores, Maduro’s wife, and Yosser’s wife, Mariana Andre Staudinger, as well as Colombians Alex Nain Saab and Álvaro Enrique Pulido and his children Shadi Nain and Isham Ali Saab and Emmanuel Enrique Rubio, in addition to the former minister and former governor José Gregorio Vielma Mora.
“The individuals designated today are responsible as accomplices or for being directly and indirectly involved in a series of transactions that involve deceptive and corrupt practices and in the programs or projects of the Government of Venezuela (…) and for operating in the gold sector “, indicated the Treasury.
The Department led by Steven Mnuchin has pointed to Saab as the ‘brain’ of “a vast network of corruption that has allowed former President Nicolás Maduro and his regime to obtain a significant benefit from food imports and their distribution in Venezuela.”
Specifically, he mentions The Local Supply and Production Committees (CLAP), a government program whereby food is delivered to the most vulnerable families and which, as the Treasury has denounced, Maduro has used “as a form of social control, to reward their supporters and punish their opponents.”
Saab would have come into contact with the Government of Maduro through the three children of Flores, popularly known as ‘Los Chamos’, until obtaining important contracts for the construction of housing, the importation and distribution of food and even the sale of gold .
“Saab was involved with people close to Maduro in a network of large-scale corruption that they used ruthlessly to exploit the hungry population of Venezuela,” said the Secretary of the Treasury in a statement.
In addition to these ten people, the United States has sanctioned thirteen companies that would form “the sophisticated corruption scheme” of Maduro and his allies to launder the money obtained.
The United States has already sanctioned several ‘Chavista’ officials, including Maduro, his son and his wife, for corruption, drug trafficking and human rights violations, as well as companies linked to the ruling elite, also the oil industry, the main source of income of Venezuela.
The sanctions mean blocking all assets that those affected have under US jurisdiction and the prohibition of doing business with North American individuals or companies.
The Treasury has recalled once again that “the sanctions do not have to be permanent”, since its objective is to promote “a positive change in the behavior” of those affected. The former head of Venezuelan Intelligence Manuel Cristopher Figuera has withdrawn the punitive measures after defecting. Europa Press