The U.S. is poised to impose sanctions on Venezuela’s defense minister and several other top officials for human-rights violations, according to people with knowledge of the plan, who added that the action was one of several under consideration by the Trump administration against President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
The U.S. Treasury could announce the sanctions, which would freeze the officials out of the U.S. financial system, as soon as Tuesday, the people said. Among those named would be Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, 54, and Diosdado Cabello, 54, a longtime ally of late President Hugo Chavez and power broker within the ruling Socialist party, they said. The officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The move against top officials — potentially the third round of sanctions against Venezuelans under the Trump administration — are one offshoot of a broader U.S. probe into allegations of Venezuelan corruption that began several years ago and has resulted in some criminal charges. Other Venezuela-related measures are also in the works, the people said, adding that U.S. officials have given briefings on the potential actions in recent weeks to lawmakers including Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.