Canada to Sanction Venezuela

Canada’s Foreign Ministry announced Friday new sanctions against Venezuela, targeting top government officials.

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
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Puebla, Mexico, September 22, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Canada’s Foreign Ministry announced Friday new sanctions against Venezuela, targeting top government officials.

“Under the Special Economic Measures Act, Canada is imposing targeted sanctions against 40 Venezuelan officials and individuals who have played a key role in undermining the security, stability and integrity of democratic institutions of Venezuela,” the country’s Foreign Ministry, Global Affairs Canada, said in a statement.

The ministry stated the sanctions were part of efforts to put “pressure on the Government of Venezuela to restore constitutional order and respect the democratic rights of its people”.

“Today’s announcement of sanctions against the Maduro regime underscores our commitment to defending democracy and human rights around the world. Canada stands in solidarity with the people of Venezuela as they struggle to restore democracy in their country,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said.

According to Canada’s Global News, the officials targeted by the sanctions include Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol, National Electoral Council head Tibisay Lucena, along with prominent socialists and former ministers Iris Varela and Elias Jaua. Several top court judges were also reportedly hit with the sanctions.

Venezuela was yet to respond to the announcement at the time of writing, though previous rounds of US sanctions have been condemned by the Maduro administration as part of an “economic war” against his country.

Late last month, Washington imposed its harshest sanctions yet on Venezuela, prohibiting dealings in new debt and equity issued by the government of Venezuela and state oil firm PDVSA.

In recent months, Canada has also stepped up its response to Venezuela's unrest. In August, Ottawa joined a 12 nation group opposed to the Maduro administration. Along with economic sanctions, the group has also called for an international ban on arms sales to Venezuela. Then on Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated the current situation in Venezuela is “untenable”.

“The violence … needs to end and we are looking to be helpful,” he said.

At least 126 people died across Venezuela during an outbreak of political violence between April and late July. At least 14 of those are suspected to have been the result of the actions of state security forces, including police and the National Guard. Around 31 have been allegedly linked to violent anti-government groups.