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US Lifts Sanctions On Ex Venezuelan Intelligence Chief

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The US government lifted sanctions imposed on former Venezuelan intelligence chief Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, who broke allegiance to the Nicolás Maduro regime. Vice President Mike Pence expressed hope that the action will encourage others to follow the example of General Cristopher Figuera.

The Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Cristopher Figuera, who was the Director General of Venezuela's National Intelligence Service, on February 15 for being a key member of the Maduro regime.

He was removed from the blacklist after he broke ranks with Maduro and pledged support to the Venezuelan constitution and the National Assembly last week.

The Treasury Department said the action, taken in consultation with the U.S. Department of State, demonstrates that U.S. sanctions need not be permanent and are intended to bring about a positive change of behavior.

"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.

In a speech at the US state department Tuesday, Vice-President Mike Pence said, "We hope the action that our nation is taking today will encourage others to follow the example of General Cristopher Figuera and members of the military who have also stepped forward."

He reiterated Washington's support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who is waging a tough battle to remove Nicolas Maduro from power despite being recognized by more than 50 nations as Venezuela's interim president.

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