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Switzerland adds 11 Venezuelan officials to sanctions list

The Swiss authorities have added 11 leading Venezuelan officials to a sanctions list because of their alleged role in undermining human rights and democracy in the South American country.

The 11 politicians and military officials added to the list on July 7 will be subject to sanctions including an entry and transit ban to Switzerland and a freeze on any assets held in Swiss banks.

Switzerland thus follows a similar move taken on June 29 by the European Union, which has drawn up a list of 36 individuals.

The Federal Council (executive body) first established a list of sanctions for Venezuela back in 2018 over alleged violations of human rights and the rule of law as well as the erosion of democratic institutions.

The 11 people concerned by the latest measures are accused of actions against groups that oppose President Nicolas Maduro. They include José Adelino Ornelas Ferreira, secretary general of Venezuela’s National Defence Council and Néstor Luis Reverol Torres, Minister for Interior, Justice and Peace.

Ferreira is accused of serious human rights violations and the repression of civil society and democratic opposition in Venezuela, including by obstructing humanitarian aid and through the excessive use of force by officials of the Bolivarian Armed Forces and forces under his command.

Meanwhile, Torres, former commander general of the Bolivarian National Guard, is also accused of serious human rights violations, including the torture of political prisoners and repression of the democratic opposition in Venezuela.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on July 2 that Venezuelan security operations had killed at least 1,324 people in the first five months of 2020.

Venezuela will vote for a new parliament on December 6. The opposition has controlled parliament since 2016, and current legislative chief Juan Guaidó has been recognised by dozens of countries, including the United States, as the nation’s rightful leader following the disputed 2018 re-election of President Nicolas Maduro.