US sanctions on four soldiers from the Directorate of Counter-Espionage of Venezuela

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Four military officers from the Venezuelan military intelligence agency have been on the US sanctions list following the death of a military man who was detained and accused of participating in a coup attempt against President Nicolas Maduro, the US Treasury Department said Friday.

General Rafael Rafael Blanco Marrero, Colonel Hanover Esteban Guerrero Mechares and Rafael Antonio Franco Quintero, as well as Commander Alexander Enrique Granco Artiaga, members of the General Directorate of Counterterrorism, which has been under US sanctions since July 11.

The Treasury said in a statement that the decision “comes after the arrest, torture and death” of Venezuelan President Rafael Acosta Arevalo.

Acosta belongs to a group of 13 people who have been arrested for involvement in a failed coup against Maduro, which the government says is linked to the exhibitions of Juan Guido.

Acosta was arrested on June 21. According to one of the opposition in exile, Acosta was just one week before the court and was on a “wheelchair, with signs of serious torture.” He was then transferred to hospital where he died.

“The General Directorate of Counter-Espionage, including the military, has been accused of systematically violating human rights and suppressing differences of opinion,” the State Department said.

The sanctions include, in particular, a possible freeze in assets in the United States, and the prevention of any American or any company on US soil from dealing with the four military.

Washington has tightened its sanctions on Venezuela and earlier imposed sanctions on the national oil company in an attempt to stifle the Maduro camp economically.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of Argentina, who is on a tour of Latin America, said Maduro “will not rule Venezuela again.” “This will not happen, maybe he will control the army for a while, but he will never rule these people,” he said.

It is only a matter of time before we can all help the Venezuelans regain their democracy and economy,” Pompeo said.

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