The United States is publicly designating Rafael Enrique Bastardo Mendoza, Commander of Venezuela’s police special forces (the FAES), and Ivan Rafael Hernandez Dala, Commander of military counter intelligence (the DGCIM), for their involvement in gross violations of human rights.
The security and intelligence organizations led by Bastardo and Hernandez have been implicated for their human rights violations and abuses and the repression of civil society and the democratic opposition. These acts were documented extensively in the July 5, 2019 report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as credible reports by other human rights organizations. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights report noted at least 7,523 extrajudicial killings documented by a Venezuelan non-governmental organization.
This designation, taken under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Act, is in addition to the U.S. government’s action on February 15, 2019 to financially sanction Bastardo and Hernandez pursuant to Executive Order 13692 for their involvement in human rights abuses, repression and corruption.
In accordance with the law, in addition to the designation of Bastardo and Hernandez, I am publicly designating Bastardo’s spouse, Jeisy Catherine Leal Andarcia, and Hernandez’s spouse, Luzbel Carolina Colmenares Morales, as well as the minor children of both officials.
Section 7031(c) allows the Department of State to revoke visas for foreign officials and their immediate family members in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that those officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights. Such individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.
The United States strongly supports the peaceful, democratic transition in Venezuela led by interim President Juan Guaido and the National Assembly. We will continue to pursue diplomatic and economic initiatives in support of that transition.