U.S. sanctions Venezuela’s Maduro over weekend election

July 31 (UPI) — The United States levied new sanctions on Venezuela after a weekend election gave the Maduro regime virtually unlimited powers, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.

President Nicolas Maduro‘s administration praised the election Sunday, saying “peace has won” in an election to replace the elected parliament — the National Assembly — with the National Constituent Assembly.

The opposition, which leads the National Assembly, said the broadening of Maduro’s powers represents a slide toward dictatorship.

Mnuchin called Maduro a “dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people.” He added that those who participate in the National Constituent Assembly — which has the power to rewrite the Constitution — also could face U.S. sanctions.

“By sanctioning Maduro, the United States makes clear our opposition to the policies of his regime and our support for the people of Venezuela who seek to return their country to a full and prosperous democracy,” Mnuchin said.

The sanctions freeze all of Maduro’s assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

The sanctions announced Monday are added to those introduced Wednesday on 13 current and former senior officials in the Maduro government. The Treasury froze the assets and prohibited U.S. residents from doing business with those involved with the election Sunday.

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