July 19, 2019: OFAC sanctions 4 Venezuelan military counterintelligence officials

On Friday, OFAC designated: under its Venezuela sanctions program.

And the Treasury Department:

Treasury Sanctions Officials of Venezuela’s Military Counterintelligence Agency

Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four officials of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM).  The DGCIM, including these officials, has been accused of systemic human rights abuses and repressing dissent and was sanctioned on July 11, 2019 pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13850, as amended.  This action follows the arrest, physical abuse, and death of Venezuelan Navy Captain Rafael Acosta Arévalo.  The four DGCIM officials targeted include: Division General Rafael Ramón Blanco Marrero, Colonel Hannover Esteban Guerrero Mijares, Major Alexander Enrique Granko Arteaga, and Colonel Rafael Antonio Franco Quintero. 

“The United States will continue to hold individuals accountable who are involved in the former Maduro regime’s use of intimidation and repression to target and silence political opponents, innocent civilians, and members of the military,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.  “The United States will use all of its authorities to target those who have helped the illegitimate Maduro regime repress dissent, free speech, and the will of the Venezuelan people.”

The following individuals were designated pursuant to E.O. 13692, as amended, for being current or former officials of the Government of Venezuela:

  • Division General Rafael Ramón Blanco Marrero (Blanco) is the Deputy Director of the DGCIM.  Blanco was promoted to the rank of Division General on July 5, 2019, only six days after the death of Captain Acosta.
  • Colonel Hannover Esteban Guerrero Mijares (Guerrero) is the DGCIM’s Director of Investigations, where he oversees the DGCIM’s headquarters in Boleíta.  Guerrero works under the supervision of DGCIM Director Ivan Rafael Hernandez Dala, whom OFAC designated pursuant to E.O. 13692, as amended, on February 15, 2019.
  • Major Alexander Enrique Granko Arteaga (Granko) is the head of the DGCIM’s Special Affairs Unit. 
  • Colonel Rafael Antonio Franco Quintero (Franco) is the DGCIM’s former Director of Investigations, who previously commanded the DGCIM headquarters in Boleíta.

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these individuals, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by these individuals, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.  OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.

U.S. sanctions need not be permanent; sanctions are intended to bring about a positive change of behavior.  The United States has made clear that we will consider lifting sanctions for persons designated under E.O. 13692 or E.O. 13850 who take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order, refuse to take part in human rights abuses, speak out against abuses committed by the government, and combat corruption in Venezuela.  The Department of the Treasury demonstrated this to be the case on May 7, 2019, when it removed sanctions it had imposed on Major General Manuel Ricardo Christopher Figuera, the former head of Venezuela’s National Intelligence Service (SEBIN).  We urge all DGCIM officials to take note of this example, and to distance themselves from the illegitimate Maduro regime.

For information about the methods that Venezuelan senior political figures, their associates, and front persons use to move and hide corrupt proceeds, including how they try to exploit the U.S. financial system and real estate market, please refer to Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) advisories FIN-2019-A002, “Updated Advisory on Widespread Public Corruption in Venezuela,” FIN-2017-A006, “Advisory to Financial Institutions and Real Estate Firms and Professionals” and FIN-2018-A003, “Advisory on Human Rights Abuses Enabled by Corrupt Senior Foreign Political Figures and their Financial Facilitators.”

issued a press release.

There was also a press release from State, but it won’t load (too many redirects), but this is the text in the email they sent out:

The United States Sanctions Maduro-aligned Officials of Venezuela’s Military Counterintelligence Agency

On July 19, the United States sanctioned four officials of the Maduro-aligned General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence, known as DGCIM, pursuant to E.O. 13692, as amended, for being current or former Maduro-aligned officials.  They are Division General Rafael Ramon Blanco Marrero, Colonel Hannover Esteban Guerrero Mijare, Major Alexander Enrique Granko Arteaga, and Colonel Rafael Antonio Franco Quintero.

Nicolas Maduro and his associates continue their involvement in human rights abuses and promote those who carry out these abuses, in spite of the findings and recommendations of the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) July 5 report.  For example, Blanco was promoted to the rank of Division General just six days after Venezuelan Navy Captain Acosta’s alleged torture and death while in the custody of Maduro’s security forces.

Similar to the OHCHR report, Human Rights Watch and NGO Foro Penal reported in January on the use of asphyxiation, electric shocks, food deprivation, and death threats against soldiers accused of plotting against Maduro.  Additionally, last week there were reports that ten female prisoners in DGCIM custody were taken from their cells and moved to an unknown location.  Their whereabouts remain unknown.

Meanwhile, 107 military officers are listed by Foro Penal as political prisoners of the former Maduro regime.

Venezuelans deserve a government that honors and respects its military and security forces and empowers them to uphold the constitution.

The United States will stand by interim President Juan Guaido and the National Assembly until all the people of Venezuela are free from repression and democracy is restored.

Links:

OFAC Notice

Treasury Press Release

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