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Posted by admin on May 08, 2019

The TelegraphThe former head of Venezuela’s feared intelligence service Sebin has had sanctions on him lifted by the United States, in a move designed to encourage others to follow his lead and abandon Nicolas Maduro. Mr Maduro’s government announced shortly afterwards that it was taking control of three private airfields, in a move widely seen as trying to stop others following the general’s lead and fleeing the country. Nestor Reverol, head of public works, said the Metropolitana air field in Caracas, the airport in the town of Higuerote, and Aeropuerto Caracas, south of the capital, had been taken over “to avoid illicit acts which would compromise the safety of civil aviation.” Mike Pence, the US vice president, announced on Tuesday that sanctions would be lifted from General Manuel Cristopher Figuera after he resigned on April 30. “You can’t live in misery in a country this rich,” wrote Mr Figuera, in a letter of resignation that received national attention. Mike Pence, pictured with Venezuela's interim president Juan Guaido on February 25, praised Mr Figuera for cutting ties with Mr Maduro Mr Pence, speaking in Washington, hailed Mr Figuera as an example for all other senior Venezuelan officials to follow. “The United States will give sanctions relief to all those willing to step forward, stand up for the constitution, and support the rule of law,” he said. Mr Figuera was placed on a list of US-sanctioned Venezuelans on February 15. The US treasury said on Tuesday that he was being rewarded for denouncing Mr Maduro. “The delisting of Cristopher also shows the good faith of the United States that removal of sanctions may be available for designated persons who take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order, refuse to take part in human rights abuses, speak out against abuses committed by the illegitimate Maduro regime, or combat corruption in Venezuela,” it said in a statement. “As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property, which had been blocked solely as a result of Cristopher’s designation, are unblocked and all otherwise lawful transactions involving US persons and Cristopher are no longer prohibited.” Nicolas Maduro, flanked by his defence minister Vladimir Padrino, greets troops on May 2 after successfully repressing an uprising lead by Juan Guaido Mr Figuera had been head of Sebin since October 2018. He graduated from Venezuela’s military academy in 1989, and served as Hugo Chavez’s aide-de-camp for 12 years. In 2017 he became head of military intelligence. When he was promoted to head of Sebin, replacing Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez after a suspicious death of a Sebin agent inside a Sebin building, the opposition party Primero Justicia accused Mr Figuera himself of having a questionable past. “This means more torture, more violations of human rights, and more persecution,” the party said in a statement, accusing him of “abuse and torture”. Since Mr Figuera’s resignation, Mr Gonzalez Lopez has been reinstated as Sebin head.

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