In a statement issued by the US State Department Wednesday, the US formally announced sanctions against the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) and one of the Bank’s directors, Iliana Josefa Ruzza Teran.
According to the statement, the sanctions were issued “to halt the former Maduro regime’s theft of Venezuela’s assets and destruction of the economy.” Nicolás Maduro has been president of Venezuela since 2013, but his presidency has been in dispute since January with a number of countries, including the US supporting Juan Guaidó as interim president. The Central Bank of Venezuela operates under Maduro’s authority and is responsible for executing Venezuelan monetary policy, issuing currency, and managing the country’s financial reserves. The statement alleges that Maduro has used the Central Bank for the enrichment of himself and his inner circle.
The Central Bank was sanctioned pursuant to Executive Order 13850 which allows for property from the Venezuelan economy to be frozen in the US among other provisions. Iliana Josefa Ruzza Teran was sanctioned pursuant to Executive Order 13692 which provides for the sanctioning of business with designated individuals.
The statement specifically declares that these sanctions are not designed to target the people of Venezuela and will not prevent the flow of humanitarian aid into Venezuela.