Published: Mon, May 21, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

United States sanctions No. 2 official in Venezuela's Socialist party

United States sanctions No. 2 official in Venezuela's Socialist party

The "second most powerful man in Venezuela", Diosdado Cabello, immediately brushed aside the accusations and new U.S. sanctions introduced against him for allegedly heading a drug ring.

The action against Cabello, second-in-command of the ruling United Socialist party, comes just ahead of elections scheduled for Sunday.

The U.S. Treasury on Friday imposed sanctions against Cabello, his wife, Marleny Josefina Contreras who heads the country's tourism institute, and his brother, Jose David.

Venezuela does not recognize any sanctions imposed on the country without United Nations authorization, president of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) Delcy Rodriguez said on Wednesday.

Marco Bello  ReutersA Venezuelan casts her vote at a polling station during the presidential election in Caracas Venezuela
Marco Bello ReutersA Venezuelan casts her vote at a polling station during the presidential election in Caracas Venezuela

The sanctions order also designates three companies - 11420 Corp, Noor Plantation Investments LLC and SAI Advisors Inc, described in a Treasury statement as Florida companies owned or controlled by Sarria - according to the Treasury Department website. Washington's sanctions, he noted, will inevitably hurt common Venezuelans struggling to afford "food and medicines". Earlier this month, the United States sanctioned three Venezuelans and 20 firms with alleged ties to Maduro.

"We are imposing costs on figures like Diosdado Cabello who exploit their official positions to engage in narcotics trafficking, money laundering, embezzlement of state funds, and other corrupt activities", said U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in the statement.

The Trump administration has warned recently that it could impose tighter sanctions on Caracas to combat human rights and political abuses under President Nicolás Maduro.

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