Trailers blocking a bridge (© Fernando Llano/AP Images)
Soldiers stand on a bridge linking Colombia and Venezuela, blocking the entry of humanitarian aid. (© Fernando Llano/AP Images)

The U.S. has sanctioned six Venezuelan government officials.

All six officials are aligned with illegitimate former president Nicolás Maduro and control many of the groups that stopped humanitarian aid from entering Venezuela on February 23, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

“We are sanctioning members of Maduro’s security forces in response to the reprehensible violence, tragic deaths and unconscionable torching of food and medicine destined for sick and starving Venezuelans,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

People praying and holding large crucifix (© Fernando Llano/AP Images)
Venezuelans pray during clashes with Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard near the border with Colombia on February 23. (© Fernando Llano/AP Images)

One of the groups that blocked aid from reaching Venezuelans was Maduro’s special police unit, the Fuerzas de Acciones Especiales (FAES). The FAES descended on border regions at the same time as the announcement that humanitarian aid would be arriving there.

A line of soldiers and clouds of white gas in street (© Fernando Llano/AP Images)
Soldiers fire tear gas on local residents in Ureña, Venezuela, near the Colombian border. (© Fernando Llano/AP Images)

According to the Colombian authorities, five people died at the hands of Maduro’s security forces during clashes throughout the day, and another 285 people were injured (including 27 who required hospitalization).

As a result of the Treasury Department’s action, all property of the sanctioned individuals that is in the United States or controlled by a U.S. person is blocked.

Mnuchin voiced U.S. support for the people of Venezuela and interim President Juan Guaidó. He said the U.S. “will continue to target Maduro loyalists prolonging the suffering of the victims of this man-made humanitarian crisis.”