The United States imposed new sanctions on crisis-hit Venezuela targeting members of a controversial, all-powerful, loyalist assembly installed last week to bolster what Washington calls the “dictatorship” of President Nicolas Maduro.
The steps were aimed at six members of the so-called Constituent Assembly — among them the brother of late president Hugo Chavez — as well as a military officer in charge of security for the body, and a board member of the national electoral authority.
They added to previous US sanctions on Maduro himself — a rare step against a sitting head of state — imposed just before the assembly was elected on July 30 in a vote marred by violence, fraud allegations and an opposition boycott.
“President Maduro swore in this illegitimate Constituent Assembly to further entrench his dictatorship, and continues to tighten his grip on the country,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
“This regime’s disregard for the will of the Venezuelan people is unacceptable, and the United States will stand with them in opposition to tyranny until Venezuela is restored to a peaceful and prosperous democracy.”