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U.S. Imposes New Sanctions On Venezuelan Security Officials

A demonstrator holds a Venezuelan flag on the Francisco de Paula Santander international bridge in Urena, Venezuela, border with Colombia on February 24, 2019.

The United States on March 1 imposed sanctions on six senior Venezuelan security officials accused of obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid into their country, as Caracas announced the transfer of its state oil company headquarters from Portugal to Russia.

The Treasury Department said the six, including officials with the National Guard and police, are allied with leftist President Nicolas Maduro.

"This action ... targets six security officials who control many of the groups that prevented humanitarian aid from entering Venezuela, thereby exacerbating the humanitarian crisis that has left millions of Venezuelans starving and without access to medical care under the Maduro regime," the Treasury Department said in a statement.

Also on March 1, Maduro ordered the state oil company, PDVSA, to move its headquarters from the capital of Portugal, Lisbon, to Moscow. Vice President Delcy Rodriquez (eds: a woman), on a visit to Moscow, said the move was intended to protect Venezuelan assets from Western sanctions.

The new sanctions are part of an ongoing campaign by the U.S. administration to pressure Maduro to step down and turn over power to opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Washington recognized Guaido as Venezuela's interim president last month and has called for the country to hold new elections because Maduro's reelection last year has been widely viewed as illegitimate.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP