The Department of the Treasury issued sanctions Monday against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in response to what U.S. officials have deemed an illegitimate election held to consolidate power.
“Yesterday’s illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people.” Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “Anyone who participates in this illegitimate ANC could be exposed to future U.S. sanctions for their role in undermining democratic processes and institutions in Venezuela.”
Under the sanctions imposed Monday, Maduro’s U.S. assets are frozen and American citizens are prohibited from dealing with him. It remains unclear what assets, if any, will be affected by the sanctions.
The sanctions come one day after Maduro’s regime held a vote intended to serve as a justification for Maduro’s regime to seize power from the democratically elected National Assembly and institute an authoritarian regime by rewriting the nation’s constitution.
The Treasury Department’s statement did not reference restrictions on oil trade, despite prior threats indicating the administration was prepared to ban petroleum trade with Venezuela if Maduro chose to continue his authoritarian push.
The Treasury Department’s statement casts the illegitimate vote as the culmination of Maduro’s efforts to suppress democracy.
“Under Maduro, the Venezuelan government has deliberately and repeatedly abused the rights of citizens through the use of violence, repression, and criminalization of demonstrations,” the statement reads. “At his direction, the regime’s security forces have systematically repressed and criminalized opposition parties through arbitrary detention, military prosecution of civilians, and the excessive use of force against demonstrators.”
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