Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is under accusation for widespread human rights abuses by the U.S. Treasury Department.
The department released the sanctions Sunday, when Venezuela voted to create a National Constituent Assembly (ANC). The ANC is an elected parliamentary body that would increase the power of Maduro and his party, which is expected to comprise a majority of the assembly. ANC will be charged with the task of rewriting the country’s constitution.
The election was boycotted by the opposition, which had many mocking the government’s referendum that more than 40 percent of voters took part in.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said members of the illegitimate assembly could face future U.S. sanctions for having a role in undermining democratic processes in Venezuela.
“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 in a statement.
Currently, Venezuela is going through an economic crisis with skyrocketing inflation and food shortages.
According to CNBC, the country’s economy had been dependent on oil exports. But in recent months, exports have majorly decreased due to crashing oil prices.
In a press release, the Treasury Department said that Maduro’s American assets are frozen and that U.S. persons are prohibited form dealing with him.
After the accusation, Maduro said he promised to continue to protect his country.
“I don’t take orders from the North American empire,” President Mauro said in a television address.
Venezuela continues to be in turmoil, not only because of their economic standing. Now, election results have spurred protests in the streets of Caracas, which has resulted in more than 100 deaths since April.
“Maduro is not just a bad leader,” said President Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster. “He is now a dictator.”
[CNBC] [Politico] [Washington Post] [CNN]