The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday added former government minister Diosdado Cabello, a top official in the ruling socialist party, to the growing list of Venezuelan officials sanctioned for their corrupt role in obliterating democratic rule, ending what many observers considered was an odd omission from the register of so-called 'Specially Designated Persons.'
As a result of the sanctions, Cabello's U.S. assets were blocked and U.S. citizens are banned from doing business with him.
The announcement came on the eve of the Sunday's presidential elections in which President Nicolás Maduro is expected to win another six year term, despite widespread accusations of fraud and the lack of mimumum democratic standards.
Cabello's wife, Marleny Contreras Hernández, also joined him on the blacklist, along with his brother, National Superintendent of Customs and Taxes, José David Cabello and his alleged front man, Rafael Alfredo Sarría.
The new sanctions also included three companies that are related to Sarría in Boca Raton, Florida, 11420 Corp, Noor Plantation Investments LLC, and SAI Advisors Inc.
Cabello is one of the most outspoken members of the National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela, which effectively runs the country since it usurped the powers of the sitting National Assembly in August 2017. Cabello previously served as president of the assembly (2012-2016) and as a minister under the late President Hugo Chávez.
In July 2017, the Trump administration also imposed sanctions against President Nicolás Maduro, branding him a "dictator", and also added Vice President Tarek El Aissami to the list, as well as eight judges and the heads of the electoral authority.
Despite amassing immense power, Cabello had mysteriously stayed off the U.S. blacklist which was launched by President Barack Obama in 2014 to targets massive corruption and violations of human rights and democratic rule.