The United States Treasury Department placed economic and travel sanctions on four Maduro regime officials today, including first lady Cilia Flores. The sanctions freeze any assets that the individuals have in the United States, and prohibit any United States entities from conducting business with them.
The other three sanctioned individuals are vice president Delcy Rodriguez and her brother, Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez, and Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez.
Maduro: “Don’t Mess with Cilia”
Maduro reacted to the new round of sanctions during a televised address that aired on the state-owned VTV network earlier today.
During his address, Maduro said:
Don’t mess with Cilia. Don’t mess with my family. Don’t be cowards! (…) Her only crime is being my wife. Since they can’t beat Maduro, they’re going after Cilia. But they also won’t be able to beat Cilia, because Cilia is a fierce woman.
Maduro also repeated an increasingly popular claim among regime officials: that being sanctioned by the United States was akin to “getting a medal”.
At the same time, Maduro said that the sanctions were “illegal and useless”.
When announcing the sanctions, United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnnuchin said:
We are continuing to designate loyalists who enable Maduro to solidify his hold on the military and the government while the Venezuelan people suffer
Earlier in the day, United States president Donald Trump spoke before the United Nations General Assembly on the Venezuelan crisis, saying:
Venezuela is a very sad case and we want to see it fixed — what’s happening there is a human tragedy,
Maduro Orders Troops to Colombia Border
El Nacional reported this evening that National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) have been deployed to the border of Colombia in Venezuela’s Tachira state.
News of the troop deployment originally broke through the official Twitter account of the FANB’s Strategic Operations Command (SOC), which oversees all army operations in Venezuela. El Nacional, citing “sources connected to the military”, reported that soldiers started arriving to the border on Saturday, and that their deployment is still continuing to this day.
Remigio Ceballos, the head of the SOC, said that the troops were being deployed to counter “threats” on the border.
Below, a message from Ceballos in which he provides some detail on the nature of the threats:
#StrategicDefensiveOperation Rapid Deployment Units for combating border threats and fighting against structured paramilitary organized crime groups Chavez Lives!!!! [sic]
The red berets that the soldiers are wearing in the images shared by Ceballos suggest that they may belong to the Rapid Deployment Unit of the 42nd Airborne Brigade.
United States vice president Mike Pence reacted to news of the troop movements at the United Nations today. Below, Pence’s statement on the matter:
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