US slaps sanctions on Venezuela’s foreign minister, judge

(ALJAZEERA) – The US Treasury Department on Friday imposed sanctions on Venezuela‘s foreign minister and a Venezuelan judge, according to a statement on the department’s website.

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza and a judge, Carol Padilla, were targeted over the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, the Treasury Department said, the latest in a list of officials blacklisted by US authorities for their role in President Nicolas Maduro‘s government.

The designation of Arreaza and Judge Carol Bealexis Padilla de Arretureta freezes any assets they have in the United States and prohibits any US citizens or entities from having financial dealings with them.

Arreaza is a prominent figure in the Maduro government who has represented Venezuela at the United Nations amid the deep political and economic crisis in the South American country.

The judge approved the jailing of an opposition politician last year in connection with an apparent assassination attempt of the president.

She reportedly also approved the detention of a top aide to the opposition head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido.

Guaido, who is backed by the US, argues that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate. Guaido, in January, invoked the country’s Constitution to declared himself interim president – a move Maduro called an attempted coup.

The sanctions are aimed at increasing pressure on Maduro and senior officials in his government.