"Through their own continuing actions, the four officials designated today have forsaken the professional republican mission of the military institution, which, per Venezuela’s 1999 Constitution, is to be "with no political orientation … and in no case at the service of any person or political partisanship," the Treasury said.
All four men are current or former Venezuelan high-ranking military officials. The sanctioned individuals include State Minister for the New Border of Peace Gerardo Izquierdo Torres and Governor of Aragua State Rodolfo Clemente Marco Torres. Former Governor of Bolivar State Francisco Jose Rangel Gomez and Fabio Enrique Zavarse Pabon, commander of the Capital Integral Defense Operational Zone of the National Armed Forces, have also been added to the sanctions list.
Rodolfo Torres also serves as the external director on Petroleos de Venezuela’s board of directors and used to serve as Venezuela’s minister of economy and finances, president of the Bank of Venezuela, and minister of food.
The United States has introduced sanctions against Venezuela under Donald Trump's executive order, made in August 2017, striving to put financial pressure on the Maduro-led government. In its turn, Venezuela has blamed US meddling for its economic situation.
The country has been experiencing a severe political crisis after the country's Supreme Court decided to restrict the power of the legislative body in March 2017. The move triggered large-scale protests led by the opposition, which were further fueled by the National Constituent Assembly election, initiated by President Nicolas Maduro with the intention of rewriting the constitution.