Venezuela sanctions

From FINMA:

News

07 August 2019 

International sanction

Updated sanction message

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has published an amendment to the Ordinance of 28 March 2018 on measures against Venezuela (SR 946.231.178.5).

By decision of 5 August 2019, the relevant EU Sanctions Committee amended the list of persons, companies and organizations sanctioned in this context. The change is directly applicable in Switzerland. On 7 August 2019, SECO therefore adjusted the Swiss sanctions database SESAM (SECO Sanctions Management), which was relevant for Switzerland, and published the adaptation on its website . This change will take effect at 18:00.

Financial Intermediaries are requested to immediately block the relevant assets and to report such business relationships to SECO in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation. Notification to SECO does not release a financial intermediary from reimbursing reports to the Money Laundering Reporting Office without delay if the requirements are fulfilled, in accordance with Art. 9 of the Money Laundering Law.

And here are the amended listings:

SSID: 290-38374 Name: Néstor Luis Reverol Torres

Sex: M DOB: 28 Oct 1964

Justification: Minister for Interior, Justice and Peace; former Commander General of the Bolivarian National Guard. Responsible for serious human rights violations and repression of the democratic opposition in Venezuela, including the prohibition and repression of political demonstrations. Modifications: Listed on 28 Mar 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-38379 Name: Gustavo Enrique González López

Sex: M DOB: 2 Nov 1960

Justification: Reappointed as Head of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN). ResponsibleSEBIN) on 30 Apr 2019. Formerly Security and Intelligence Adviser for the President’s office from 8 Jan 2019 to 30 Apr 2019 and Head of SEBIN until Oct 2018. As Head of SEBIN, responsible for serious human rights violations (including arbitrary detention, inhuman and degrading treatment, and torture) and repression of civil society and the democratic opposition in Venezuela. Modifications: Listed on 28 Mar 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-38384 Name: Tibisay Lucena Ramírez

Sex: W DOB: 26 Apr 1959

Justification: President of the National Electoral Council (Consejo Nacional Electoral – CNE). Her actions and policies have undermined democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela, including by facilitating the establishment of the Constituent Assembly by failing to ensure that the CNE remains an impartial and independent institution in accordance with the Venezuelan Constitution. Modifications: Listed on 28 Mar 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-38389 Name: Antonio José Benavides Torres

Sex: M DOB: 13 Jun 1961

Justification: Chief of the Capital District (Distrito Capital) GovernmentGovernment until Jan 2018. General Commander of the Bolivarian National Guard until 21 Jun 2017. Involved in repression of civil society and democratic opposition in Venezuela, and responsible for serious human rights violations committed by the Bolivarian National Guard under his command. His actions and policies as General Commander of the Bolivarian National Guard, including the Bolivarian National Guard taking the lead in the policing of civilian demonstrations and publicly advocating that military courts should have jurisdiction over civilians, have undermined the rule of law in Venezuela. Modifications: Listed on 28 Mar 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-38394 Name: Maikel José Moreno Pérez

Sex: M DOB: 12 Dec 1965

Justification: President, and former Vice President, of the Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela (Tribunal Supremo de Justicia). In these roles, he has supported and facilitated the Government’s actions and policies which have undermined democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela, and is responsible for actions and statements that have usurped the authority of the National Assembly. Modifications: Listed on 28 Mar 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-38399 Name: Tarek William Saab Halabi

Sex: M DOB: 10 Sep 1963

Justification: Venezuelan Attorney General appointed by the Constituent Assembly. In this role and previous roles as Ombudsman and President of the Republican Moral Council, he has undermined democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela by publicly supporting actions against opponents of the Government and the withdrawal of competences from the National Assembly. Modifications: Listed on 28 Mar 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-38404 Name: Diosdado Cabello Rondón

Sex: M DOB: 15 Apr 1963

Justification: President of the Constituent Assembly and First Vice President of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Involved in undermining democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela, including by using the media to publicly attack and threaten political opposition, other media and civil society. Modifications: Listed on 28 Mar 2018, amended on 16 Nov 2018, 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-39299 Name: Tareck Zaidan El-Aissami Maddah

Sex: M DOB: 12 Nov 1974

Justification: Vice President of Economy and Minister for National Industry and Production. As the former Vice President of Venezuela with oversight of the direction of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) Maddah is responsible for the serious human rights violations carried out by the organisation, including arbitrary detention, politically motivated investigations, inhumane and degrading treatment, and torture. He is also responsible for supporting and implementing policies and activities which undermine democracy and the rule of law, including the prohibition of public demonstrations, and heading President Maduro’s “anti-coup command” which has targeted civil society and the democratic opposition. Other information: Vice President of Economy and Minister for National Industry and Production. Modifications: Listed on 10 Jul 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-39305 Name: Sergio José Rivero Marcano

Sex: M DOB: 8 Nov 1964

Justification: General Commander of the Bolivarian National Guard until 16 JanuaryJan 2018. Involved in the repression of civil society and democratic opposition in Venezuela, and responsible for serious human rights violations committed by the Bolivarian National Guard under his command, including the excessive use of force, and the arbitrary detention and abuse of civil society and opposition members. His actions and policies as General Commander of the Bolivarian National Guard, including the Bolivarian National Guard assaulting members of the democratically elected National Assembly and intimidating journalists reporting on the fraudulent elections for the illegitimate Constituent Assembly, have undermined democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela. Other information: Inspector General of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces. Modifications: Listed on 10 Jul 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-39311 Name: Jesús Rafael Suárez Chourio

Sex: M DOB: 19 Jul 1962

Justification: General Commander of the Venezuelan Bolivarian National Army and former Commander of Venezuela’s Comprehensive Defence Region of the Central Zone (REDI Central). Responsible for human rights violations by forces under his command, including the use of excessive force and the mistreatment of detainees. Has targeted the democratic opposition and supported the use of military courts to try civilian protestors. Other information: General Commander of the Bolivarian Army. Modifications: Listed on 10 Jul 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-39317 Name: Iván Hernández Dala

Sex: M DOB: 18 May 1966

Justification: Head of the Directorate-General of Military Counter-Intelligence (DGCIM) since JanuaryJan 2014 and Head of the Presidential Guard since SeptemberSep 2015. As Head of the DGCIM, Iván Hernández Dala is responsible for serious human rights violations and the repression of civil society and democratic opposition committed by members of the DGCIM under his command, including excessive use of force and the ill-treatment of detainees. Other information: Head of Directorate-General of Military Counter-Intelligence. Modifications: Listed on 10 Jul 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-39323 Name: Delcy Eloina Rodríguez Gómez

Sex: W DOB: 18 May 1969

Justification: Vice President of Venezuela, former President of the illegitimate Constituent Assembly and former member of the Presidential Commission for the illegitimate National Constituent Assembly. Her actions on the Presidential Commission and then as President of the illegitimate Constituent Assembly have undermined democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela, including usurping the powers of the National Assembly and using them to target the opposition and prevent them taking part in the political process. Other information: Vice President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Modifications: Listed on 10 Jul 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-39329 Name: Elías José Jaua Milano

Sex: M DOB: 16 Dec 1969

Justification: Minister of Popular Power for Education. Former President of the Presidential Commission for the illegitimate National Constituent Assembly. Responsible for undermining democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela through his role in leading the establishment of the illegitimate Constituent Assembly. Other information: Minister of Popular Power for Education. Modifications: Listed on 10 Jul 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-39335 Name: Sandra Oblitas Ruzza

Sex: W DOB: 7 Jun 1969

Justification: Vice President of the National Electoral Council (CNE) and President of the Commission of the Electoral and Civilian Register. Responsible for the CNE’s activities which have undermined democracy in Venezuela, including facilitating the establishment of the illegitimate Constituent Assembly and manipulation of the electoral process. Other information: Vice President of National Electoral Council. Modifications: Listed on 10 Jul 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-39341 Name: Freddy Alirio Bernal Rosales

Sex: M DOB: 16 Jun 1962

Justification: Head of the National Control Centre of the Committee for Local Supply and Production (CLAP) and Commissioner General of SEBIN. Responsible for undermining democracy through manipulation of CLAP programme distributions amongst voters. Additionally, as Commissioner General of SEBIN, he is responsible for SEBIN’s activities which include serious human rights violations such as arbitrary detention. Modifications: Listed on 10 Jul 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-39346 Name: Katherine Nayarith Harrington Padrón

Sex: W DOB: 5 Dec 1971

Justification: Deputy Prosecutor General (also translated as Deputy Attorney General) since July 2017from Jul 2017 until Oct 2018. Appointed Deputy Prosecutor General by the Supreme Court in violation of the Constitution, rather than by the National Assembly. Responsible for undermining democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela, including by initiating politically-motivated prosecutions and failing to investigate allegations of human rights violations by the Maduro regime. Other information: Deputy Prosecutor General (also translated as Deputy Attorney General). Modifications: Listed on 10 Jul 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-39352 Name: Socorro Elizabeth Hernández Hernández

Sex: W DOB: 11 Mar 1952

Justification: Member (Rector) of the National Electoral Council (CNE) and member of the National Electoral Board (JNE). Responsible for the CNE’s activities which have undermined democracy in Venezuela, including facilitating the establishment of the illegitimate Constituent Assembly and manipulation of the electoral process in relation to a cancelled presidential recall election in 2016, postponement of gubernatorial elections in 2016, and the relocation of polling stations at short notice before gubernatorial elections in 2017. Modifications: Listed on 10 Jul 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

SSID: 290-39357 Name: Xavier Antonio Moreno Reyes

Sex: M

Justification: Secretary-General of the National Electoral Council (CNE). Responsible for approving CNE decisions which have undermined democracy in Venezuela, including facilitating the establishment of the illegitimate Constituent Assembly and manipulation of the electoral process. Other information: Secretary-General of the National Electoral Council. Modifications: Listed on 10 Jul 2018, amended on 7 Aug 2019

Links:

FINMA Notice

Data files of updates – PDF, XML

On August 5, the President of the United States signed an Executive Order blocking all property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within possession or control of any United States person. This Executive Order is designed to directly target the former Maduro regime and those who support it, while exempting transactions related to humanitarian activity, including the provision of articles such as food, clothing, and medicine intended to be used to relieve human suffering. OFAC has concurrently issued a general license authorizing transactions with Interim President Juan Guaido, the National Assembly, and individuals appointed or designated by Guaido.

While this is not an embargo, this significant action is in response to the continuing usurpation of power by Maduro and persons affiliated with him from the legitimate interim government of Interim President Guaido, as well as human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention of Venezuelan citizens, interference with freedom of expression, including for members of the media, and ongoing attempts to undermine Interim President Guaido and the democratically elected National Assembly’s exercise of legitimate authority in Venezuela.

Maduro’s repression of Venezuelans, in combination with the corruption and mismanagement by his illegitimate government, has dramatically negatively impacted the quality of life for average citizens who lack access to food, water, medicine and electricity, causing one of the worst man-made humanitarian disasters in the modern world.

Together, with our democratic partners in the region and around the world, the United States stands with Interim President Guaido, the democratically elected National Assembly, and the people of Venezuela as they seek to restore constitutional order and democracy to their country.

Link:

State Department Press Release

Guidance Related to the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Support to the Venezuelan People

Date: August 6, 2019

As the illegitimate former Maduro regime continues to usurp power and plunder assets that rightfully belong to the Venezuelan people, the United States has implemented Venezuela- related sanctions to preserve such assets for the Venezuelan people. These sanctions are designed to limit the Maduro regime’s sources of revenue and hold accountable those who stand in the way of restoring democracy in Venezuela, while also ensuring that the flow of humanitarian goods and services to the Venezuelan people is not prohibited by U.S. sanctions. The United States stands with the Venezuelan people and interim President Juan Guaidó in opposition to the Maduro regime.

In its administration of economic sanctions related to Venezuela, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is committed to ensuring that humanitarian support can flow to the people of Venezuela and that access to communications services critical to democracy is unfettered. To that end, OFAC maintains several authorizations to ensure that U.S. persons1 may continue to support the people of Venezuela. OFAC encourages U.S. persons to avail themselves of these authorizations. This guidance underscores that humanitarian assistance and activities to promote democracy are not the target of U.S. sanctions and are generally excepted from sanctions, so long as such activity meets the requirements outlined in each authorization. Likewise, sanctions do not prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions involving the country or people of Venezuela, provided blocked persons or proscribed conduct are not involved.2

Overview of Authorizations

U.S. persons are subject to a number of prohibitions regarding dealings with certain Venezuelan individuals and entities. OFAC’s regulations allow U.S. persons to continue to provide unimpeded humanitarian support to the Venezuelan people. This includes transactions through the U.S. financial system for authorized activity described below.3 For additional information, we encourage you to review OFAC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 519 and 665.

• Food, agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, and humanitarian items: General License 4C authorizes certain transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts and components for medical devices, or software updates for medical devices to Venezuela, or to persons in third countries purchasing specifically for resale to Venezuela. Likewise, Executive Order of August 5, 2019, which blocks the property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela, does not prohibit transactions involving the Government of Venezuela that relate to the provision of articles such as food, clothing, and medicine intended to be used to relieve human suffering. Those involved in exports or reexports related to these authorizations should also consult the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security to ensure eligibility of exportation or reexportation under its authorities.

• Remittances: General License 16B authorizes all transactions and activities ordinarily incident and necessary to processing noncommercial, personal remittances involving certain financial institutions. As of August 5, 2019, these financial institutions include Banco de Venezuela, S.A. Banco Universal (Banco de Venezuela), Banco Bicentenario del Pueblo, de la Clase Obrera, Mujer y Comunas, Banco Universal C.A. (Banco Bicentario del Pueblo), Banco del Tesoro, C.A. Banco Universal (Banco del Tesoro), and Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV). In addition, remittances with non-blocked Venezuelan financial institutions are not prohibited.

• International organizations: General License 20A authorizes official activities of certain international organizations such as the United Nations, including its Programmes and Funds, and its Specialized Agencies and Related Organizations, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross, among others, to engage in transactions involving BCV, or involving other Government of Venezuela persons to the extent the transactions are subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

• Telecommunications and mail: General License 24 authorizes transactions involving the Government of Venezuela incident to the receipt and transmission of telecommunications, as well as transactions of common carriers involving the Government of Venezuela incident to the receipt or transmission of mail and packages between the United States and Venezuela. Those involved in exports or reexports related to this authorization should consult the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security to ensure eligibility of exportation or reexportation under its authorities.

• Internet: General License 25 authorizes the exportation or reexportation, directly or indirectly, from the United States or by U.S. persons, wherever located, to or involving the Government of Venezuela of services, software, hardware, and technology incident to the exchange of communications over the Internet, such as instant messaging, chat and email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing, blogging, web hosting, and domain name registration services. Those involved in exports or reexports related to this authorization should consult the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security to ensure eligibility of exportation or reexportation under its authorities.

• Medical services: General License 26 authorizes the provision and receipt of nonscheduled emergency medical services and the provision of other medical services involving the Government of Venezuela.

• Nongovernmental organizations: General License 29 authorizes nongovernmental organizations to engage in transactions involving the Government of Venezuela in support of humanitarian projects, democracy building, education, non-commercial development projects directly benefiting the Venezuelan people, and environmental protection in Venezuela.

Statement of Licensing Policy

For transactions not otherwise authorized by OFAC general licenses, OFAC maintains a long- standing, favorable specific licensing policy supporting the provision of humanitarian assistance through which U.S. persons can request OFAC approval for such transactions. OFAC considers specific licenses on a case-by-case basis and prioritizes license applications, compliance questions, and other requests related to humanitarian support for the Venezuelan people.

If you have any questions regarding the scope of any Venezuela-related sanctions requirements, or the applicability or scope of any humanitarian-related general license, please contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.

Link:

Guidance Document

OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL

Executive Order 13808 of August 24, 2017

Imposing Additional Sanctions with Respect to the Situation in Venezuela

Executive Order 13850 of November 1, 2018

Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela

Executive Order of August 5, 2019 Blocking Property of the Government of Venezuela

GENERAL LICENSE 3F

Authorizing Transactions Related to, Provision of Financing for, and Other Dealings in Certain Bonds

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (e) and (f) of this general license, all transactions related to, the provision of financing for, and other dealings in bonds specified in the Annex to this general license (GL 3F Bonds) that would be prohibited by Subsection 1(a)(iii) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13808, or by E.O. 13850, each as amended by E.O. 13857 of January 25, 2019, or by E.O. of August 5, 2019, are authorized, provided that any divestment or transfer of, or facilitation of divestment or transfer of, any holdings in such bonds must be to a non-U.S. person.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (f) of this general license, U.S. persons are authorized to engage in all transactions prohibited by Subsection l(a)(iii) of E.O. 13808 or by E.O. 13850, each as amended, or by E.O. of August 5, 2019 that are ordinarily incident and necessary to facilitating, clearing, and settling trades of holdings in GL 3F Bonds, provided such trades were placed prior to 4:00 p.m. eastern standard time on February 1, 2019.

(c) Except as provided in paragraph (f) of this general license, all transactions and activities prohibited by Section l(a)(iii) of E.O. 13808 or by E.O. 13850, each as amended, or by E.O. of August 5, 2019 that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of financial contracts or other agreements that were entered into prior to 4:00 p.m. eastern standard time on February 1, 2019, involving, or linked to, GL 3F Bonds are authorized. This authorization is valid through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, September 30, 2019.

(d) Except as provided in paragraph (f) of this general license, all transactions related to, the provision of financing for, and other dealings in bonds that were issued both (i) prior to August 25, 2017 (the effective date of E.O. 13808), and (ii) by U.S. person entities owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the Government of Venezuela, other than Nynas AB, PDV Holding, Inc. (PDVH), CITGO Holding, Inc., and any of their subsidiaries, are authorized.

(e) Paragraph (a) of this general license does not authorize:

(1) U.S. persons to sell, or to facilitate the sale of, GL3F Bonds to, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13850, as amended, or E.O. of August 5, 2019.

(2) U.S. persons to purchase or invest in, or to facilitate the purchase of or investment in, directly or indirectly, GL 3F Bonds, other than purchases of or investments in GL 3F Bonds that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the divestment or transfer of holdings in GL 3F Bonds.

(f) This general license does not authorize:

(1) The unblocking of any property blocked pursuant to any part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V,

except as authorized by paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d); or

(2) Any transaction that is otherwise prohibited by E.O. of August 5, 2019, or E.O. 13850, E.O. 13835 of May 21, 2018, E.O. 13827 of March 19, 2018, E.O. 13808, or E.O. 13692

of March 8, 2015, each as amended, or any part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V, or any transactions or dealings with any blocked person other than the transactions involving the Government of Venezuela, including Banco Central de Venezuela, that are described in this general license.

(g) Effective August 5, 2019, General License No. 3E, dated April 17, 2019, is replaced and superseded in its entirety by this General License No. 3F.

The Annex of permissible securities was updated as well.

Link:

General License 3F

679. Executive Order of August 5, 2019, “Blocking Property of the Government of Venezuela,” blocks all property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela. What does this mean for the Government of the Interim President of Venezuela? 

 

The United States stands with the Venezuelan people and Interim President of Venezuela Juan Gerardo Guaidó Marquez (“Guaidó”) in opposition to the illegitimate former Maduro regime. By issuing General License 31, OFAC is authorizing transactions involving the Government of the Interim President of Venezuela that are prohibited by E.O. of August 5, 2019, or prohibited by E.O. 13850 with respect to certain persons appointed by Guaidó. This authorization covers the Venezuela National Assembly, including its members and staff, and any persons appointed or designated by the National Assembly to act on behalf of the Government of Venezuela. In addition, General License 31 authorizes transactions involving Interim President of Venezuela Guaidó, and any official, designee, or representative appointed or designated by Guaidó to act on behalf of the Government of Venezuela, including the Special Attorney General, and any staff of the foregoing individuals; any ambassador or other representative to the United States or to a third country appointed by Guaidó, and any staff of such ambassador or representative; any representative to an international organization appointed by Guaidó, and any staff of such representative; any person appointed by Guaidó to the board of directors (including any ad hoc board of directors) or appointed as an executive officer of a Government of Venezuela entity (including entities owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the Government of Venezuela); and any other person that is appointed or designated by any of the foregoing persons to act on behalf of the Government of Venezuela. [08-06-2019]


680. Does the blocking of the Government of Venezuela impact the ability of U.S. persons to transact with the Government of Venezuela, or persons in which the Government of Venezuela owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest?

 

Yes. All property and interests in property of persons meeting the definition of the Government of Venezuela (see section 6(d) of E.O. of August 5, 2019) that are in, or come within, the United States or the possession or control of a United States person are blocked, pursuant to E.O. of August 5, 2019, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC. Without authorization from OFAC, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with the Government of Venezuela, or persons in which the Government of Venezuela owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest. U.S. persons are not prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the country or people of Venezuela, provided blocked persons or any conduct prohibited by any other Executive order imposing sanctions measures related to the situation in Venezuela, are not involved.

Please note that persons meeting the definition of Government of Venezuela and persons that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the Government of Venezuela are blocked pursuant to E.O. of August 5, 2019, regardless of whether the person appears on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list (SDN List). See General License 31 for guidance regarding the Government of the Interim President of Venezuela. 

As a general matter, OFAC expects financial institutions to conduct due diligence on their own direct customers (including, for example, their ownership structure) to confirm that those customers are not persons whose property and interests in property are blocked. With regard to other types of transactions where a financial institution is acting solely as an intermediary and fails to block transactions involving a sanctions target, OFAC will consider the totality of the circumstances surrounding the bank’s processing of the transaction to determine what, if any, regulatory response is appropriate. [08-06-2019]


681. Does General License 28 extend the authorization of wind-down periods that have expired for Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA), Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV), or other blocked Government of Venezuela persons?

 

No.  General License 28, “Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to the Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts Involving the Government of Venezuela,” only authorizes dealings with persons blocked solely pursuant to E.O. of August 5, 2019; General License 28 does not authorize dealings with persons blocked under E.O.s 13692 or 13850, as amended, or any activities or transactions prohibited under E.O.s 13808, 13827, or 13835, each as amended.  

General licenses authorizing wind-down periods for previously designated Government of Venezuela entities (e.g., General License 11 pertaining to PdVSA and General License 19 pertaining to BCV) have expired, and all transactions and activities with such designated persons should have been wound down by the expiration of the applicable general license, absent specific authorization from OFAC.  

For clarity on the scope of each general license (including its expiration and the Executive orders or prohibitions the general license authorizes against), please refer to the header of each general license, relevant notes, and any specified expiration date. [08-06-2019]

Link:

New and updated FAQs

Executive Order 13884 of August 5, 2019

Blocking Property of the Government of Venezuela

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emer- gencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, in order to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13692 of March 8, 2015 (Blocking Property and Sus- pending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela), as amended, as relied upon for additional steps taken in subsequent Executive Orders, and in light of the continued usurpation of power by Nicolas Maduro and persons affiliated with him, as well as human rights abuses, including arbitrary or unlawful arrest and detention of Venezuelan citizens, interference with freedom of expression, including for members of the media, and ongoing attempts to undermine Interim President Juan Guaido and the Venezuelan National Assembly’s exercise of legitimate authority in Venezuela, hereby order:

Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.

(b) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:

(i) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, any person included on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons maintained by the Office of Foreign Assets Control whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(ii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

(c) The prohibitions in subsections (a)–(b) of this section apply except

to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date of this order.

Sec. 2. The unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in section 1(b) of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and entry of such persons into the United States, as immigrants or non- immigrants, is hereby suspended, except when the Secretary of State deter- mines that the person’s entry would not be contrary to the interests of the United States, including when the Secretary so determines, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General, that the person’s entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives. In exercising this responsibility, the Secretary of State shall consult the Secretary of Homeland Security on matters related to admissibility or inadmissibility within the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security. Such persons shall be treated in the same manner as persons covered by section 1 of Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions). The Secretary of State shall have the responsibility for implementing this section pursuant to such conditions and procedures as the Secretary has established or may establish pursuant to Proclamation 8693.

Sec. 3. The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include:

(a) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services

by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and

(b) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

Sec. 4. (a) Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibi- tions set forth in this order is prohibited.

(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

Sec. 5. Nothing in this order shall prohibit:

(a) transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof; or

(b) transactions related to the provision of articles such as food, clothing, and medicine intended to be used to relieve human suffering.

Sec. 6. For the purposes of this order:

(a) the term ‘‘person’’ means an individual or entity;

(b) the term ‘‘entity’’ means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;

(c) the term ‘‘United States person’’ means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States; and

(d) the term ‘‘Government of Venezuela’’ includes the state and Government of Venezuela, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of Venezuela and Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA), any person owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the foregoing, and any person who has acted or purported to act directly or indirectly for or on behalf of, any of the foregoing, including as a member of the Maduro regime. For the purposes of section 2 of this order, the term ‘‘Government of Venezuela’’ shall not include any United States citizen, any permanent resident alien of the United States, any alien lawfully admitted to the United States, or any alien holding a valid United States visa.

Sec. 7. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13692, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.

Sec. 8. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including promulgating rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to implement this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may, consistent with applicable law, redelegate any of these functions within the Department of the Treasury. All agencies of the United States Government shall take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.

Sec. 9. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Sec. 10. This order is effective at 9:00 a.m. eastern daylight time on August 5, 2019.

Link:

Executive Order 13884

We have a new Executive Order which sanctions the Maduro government (and all their 50 Percent Rule brethren), new (13) and updated (12) General Licenses, new and revised FAQs, and guidance related to humanitarian assistance.

These will all be posted separately (except for possibly the amended General Licenses – depending on the nature of the change.

And Treasury issued a humanitarian assistance press release:

Treasury Underscores U.S. Commitment to Humanitarian Support for Venezuelan People

Washington—Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued guidance highlighting the United States’ commitment to the unfettered flow of humanitarian aid to the Venezuelan people.  OFAC maintains several authorizations that permit humanitarian-related transactions, enabling continued support to the people of Venezuela and ensuring that legitimate humanitarian activity is not the target of U.S. sanctions. 

“Treasury is committed to ensuring the unfettered flow of humanitarian aid to the people of Venezuela, who continue to suffer as a result of the mismanagement and corruption of the illegitimate former Maduro regime.  It is imperative that the international community continues to fully utilize humanitarian exemptions to ensure that food and supplies continue to flow to Venezuelans suffering from Maduro’s man-made economic crisis,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.  “The United States stands with the Venezuelan people and interim President Juan Guaidó in support of efforts to ensure that food, international aid, and resources reach vulnerable Venezuelans.  Treasury regulations have and will continue to allow for unimpeded humanitarian support to the Venezuelan people, and we encourage U.S. persons to employ these authorizations to engage with those in need.”

OFAC’s regulations and general licenses allow U.S. persons to continue to provide humanitarian support to the Venezuelan people, including transactions through the U.S. financial system for certain authorized activity related to food, agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices; non-commercial, personal remittances; international organizations; telecommunications and mail; the Internet; medical services; and nongovernmental organizations.

Humanitarian support is generally excepted from sanctions, so long as such activity meets the requirements outlined in each authorization.  Sanctions do not prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions involving the country or people of Venezuela, provided blocked persons or proscribed conduct are not involved.

Across all sanctions programs, we remain committed to working with the private sector to clarify U.S. sanctions regulations and promote a risk-based approach to sanctions compliance, including in cases involving the provision of humanitarian aid.  For transactions not otherwise authorized by OFAC general licenses, OFAC maintains a long-standing, favorable specific licensing policy supporting the provision of humanitarian assistance through which U.S. persons can request OFAC approval for such transactions.  OFAC considers specific licenses on a case-by-case basis and prioritizes license applications, compliance questions, and other requests related to humanitarian support for the Venezuelan people.

View full OFAC Advisory: Guidance Related to the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Support to the Venezuelan People

Spanish Translation

Portuguese Translation

While State’s fact sheet focused on Maduro:

The former regime of Nicolás Maduro has consistently violated and abused the human rights and dignity of the country’s citizens, plundered its natural resources, and driven a once-prosperous nation into economic ruin with Maduro’s authoritarian rule and ruinous economic policies.  Maduro’s thugs have reportedly engaged in killings and physical abuse, detained political opponents, and severely interfered with the exercise of freedom of expression, all in a brutal effort to retain power.

 

MADURO’S CORRUPTION & INCOMPETENCE:

  • On July 25, 2019, the United States sanctioned Maduro’s three stepsons (Walter, Yosser, and Yoswal Flores), and seven other individuals, as well as 13 entities, involved in a complex network of bribery and money laundering that has been stealing from the people of Venezuela through a for-fee food distribution program known as the CLAP.

  • Maduro and his associates have been responsible for the theft and embezzlement of billions of dollars from the Venezuelan people over many years. Regime insiders have also been involved in drug smuggling, and the illicit removal of gold from the Venezuelan Central bank.

  • Maduro has financed himself by “cranking up the central bank printing presses. That has ballooned the supply of the national currency, the bolivar, which has lost more than 99 percent of its value since 2013 and is virtually worthless.”  (Bloomberg Businessweek, March 9, 2019)

  • The bolivar’s accumulated inflation 2014-2018 was more than twenty-two million, according to the Central Bank of Venezuela. As a result of Maduro’s actions, the people of Venezuela can no longer afford to live in their own country.

  • Similarly, Venezuela’s infrastructure has begun to collapse under Maduro.  For example, the electrical system has rapidly deteriorated since March, resulting in nation-wide blackouts and the increasing rationing of electricity in many states.  In 2016, Maduro declared approximately 12 percent of the country to be a part of an “Orinoco Mining Arc” and awarded himself broad authorities to oversee the exploitation of resources for personal gain.  Maduro ejected foreign companies from Venezuela and replaced employees with untrained workers who operate under the leadership of senior Venezuelan military officers.

 

VENEZUELA’S MADURO-MADE CRISIS:

  • Economic Decline: The International Monetary Fund estimated that the cumulative decline of the Venezuelan economy since 2013 will surpass 60 percent and is among the deepest five-year contractions the world has seen over the last half century.

  • Decreased Supply of Food & Medicine: By 2016 – the year before the United States sanctioned former President Maduro – food imports in the country had fallen 71 percent since 2013.  Imports of medicines and medical equipment fell by 68 percent 2013-2016.  (Brookings Institute/Harvard research)

  • Decreased Access to Food: In December 2018, only 55 percent of Venezuelans ate three meals a day.  (Delphos, a Venezuelan pollster)

    • Bread consumption in Venezuela decreased by 50 percent and in 2019, only eight ships carrying wheat arrived to Venezuela, according to the President of the Venezuelan Federation of Bakers.

  • Decreased Hospital Services: In November 2018, 76 percent of hospitals surveyed had deficiencies in laboratory testing, 70 percent saw lapses in radiology services, 67 percent suffered electricity shortages, and 70 percent were experiencing water shortages.  (Doctors for Health)

  • Increased Infant Deaths: In 2016, infant deaths increased more than 30 percent while maternal deaths rose nearly 66 percent.  (The former Maduro regime’s Ministry of Health)

 

MADURO’S HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES & VIOLATIONS:

  • The former Maduro regime reportedly engaged in widespread, arbitrary detentions, and physical abuse, as well as repression to silence dissent and enforce social controls.

  • Maduro has increasingly relied on the Special Action Force of the National Police (FAES) that he created in 2017 to carry out illegal raids and extrajudicial killings.

  • The FAES, comprised of 1,300 officers, stands accused of killing more than 100 people in low-income neighborhoods June-December 2018. (NGO Provea report of January 26, 2019)

  • On April 5, 2019, human rights NGO PROVEA announced the discovery of several clandestine detention centers, including three allegedly run by colectivos, police, state security forces, and intelligence agencies, where the former regime extralegally detained and abused Venezuelan citizens.

  • In July 2019, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet concluded that Maduro’s security and intelligence apparatus use widespread and arbitrary repression of civil society and the democratic opposition.  For example, the July 5 UN OHCHR report noted at least 7,523 instances of extrajudicial killings.

Note that there are no OFAC designations here – you are expected to figure out how to manage this. Probably easiest to stop everything that mentions a city or the country of Venezuela, rather than trying to create listings for every named office of the government (which could change on a heartbeat just to defeat this strategy).

Links:

OFAC Notice

Executive Order

New and Updated FAQs

Amended General Licenses (2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 16, 18. 20)

New General Licenses

Humanitarian Assistance Guidance

Treasury Press Release

State Department Fact Sheet