US Blacklists Venezuela’s Central Bank, Targets Cuba and Nicaragua
18 Apr 2019

The Trump administration on Wednesday announced sanctions restrictions targeting Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, including a designation of Venezuela’s central bank and pending limits on Cuban remittances.

The administration added Banco Central de Venezuela to its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List to “prevent it from being used as a tool of the illegitimate Maduro regime, which continues to plunder Venezuelan assets and exploit government institutions to enrich corrupt insiders,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

In tandem with the designations, the Office of Foreign Assets Control amended three general licenses authorizing the exportation of agricultural and medical goods and services, the transmission of personal remittances and transactions related to humanitarian aid when such payments involve the central bank.

Iliana Josefa Ruzza Terán, a director of the central bank and a director on the board of the Venezuelan Department of Foreign Commerce, was also added to the agency’s SDN List.

The designations come as US officials continue to increase pressure on the Venezuelan government, including by targeting its regional partner Cuba.

In a speech Wednesday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the administration would soon add five names tied to Cuba’s military and intelligence operations to the SDN List and reinstate restrictions on sending remittances to the country.

Earlier this week, US officials disclosed the reversal of a decades-long ban on American citizens suing foreign companies over their use of property seized by the Cuban government following the 1959 revolution that ushered Fidel Castro into power.

OFAC separately blacklisted Laureano Ortega Murillo, the son of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and Banco Corporativo SA (BanCorp) for their alleged roles in a political crackdown that has resulted in the deaths of more than 300 people since April 2018.

The Nicaraguan government and entities included on the SDN List have used BanCorp to launder ill-gotten wealth, OFAC said. The bank is ultimately controlled by Venezuelan state-owned oil and gas giant Petroleos de Venezuela, or PdVSA, the agency said.

Photo: Senado Federal [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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