02:28 GMT23 February 2020
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    The United States imposed several rounds of sanctions against Venezuela after the country’s opposition leader Juan Guaido illegally declared himself interim president in late January.

    The United States has imposed sanctions on Venezuela's General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said in a notice on its website on Thursday.

    "The following entity has been added to OFAC's SDN (specially designated nationals) List: General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence", the notice said without elaborating.

    The sanctions follow the death of Venezuelan Navy Captain Rafael Acosta in custody amid allegations of torture.

    On 29 June, the Venezuelan government confirmed the death of the naval officer, who was previously arrested for alleged participation in this year's coup attempt in the country.

    Earlier, local media reported that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro signed a decree either demoting or expelling dozens of officers, including high-ranking ones, from the country's armed forces due to their involvement in the coup attempt.

    This came after Maduro in April underscored that the new US sanctions, which are restricting the ability of Caracas to handle international financial transactions, will strengthen the country.

    "Your sanctions are completely immoral. Central banks are sacred… Let me say that sanctions give us even more strength", Maduro said in a televised address.

    He spoke after Washington introduced new sanctions against Venezuela, targeting the country's Central Bank and its director.

    The US slapped an array of sanctions on the South American country after Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido illegally declared himself interim president in late January.

    Maduro, in turn, accused the US of trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Guaido as its puppet. Russia, China, and a number of other countries voiced their support for Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.

    On 30 April, Guaido urged Venezuelan civilians and servicemen to take to the streets to help depose the constitutionally-elected Venezuelan president.

    In response, Maduro said that the commanders of all regions and zones of integral defence had reiterated their full loyalty to the people, constitution, and homeland. The coup attempt turned violent and led to some 240 people being injured, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.


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