U.S. levies new sanctions against Venezuelan officials

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |   Aug. 9, 2017 at 6:46 PM
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Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The United States on Wednesday introduced sanctions on eight new Venezuelan officials, including Adan Coromoto Chavez Frias, the brother of late President Hugo Chavez.

The U.S. Treasury announced the sanctions were against those involved in organizing or supporting the country's new constituent assembly, which granted President Nicolas Maduro virtually unlimited powers.

The 545-member legislative body was elected July 30. It has the power to rewrite the Constitution and dissolve the country's elected parliament, the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

On July 31, the United States levied sanctions against Maduro, freezing all of his assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

The Treasury Department on Wednesday said the constituent assembly was elected "through an undemocratic process instigated by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government to subvert the will of the Venezuelan people." The statement by the department decried the assembly's first action, which was to oust Attorney General Luisa Marvelia Ortega Diaz.

"President Maduro swore in this illegitimate Constituent Assembly to further entrench his dictatorship, and continues to tighten his grip on the country," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. "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."

Among those sanctioned Wednesday were:

-- Chavez Frias, who was appointed secretary of the presidential commission for the constituent assembly.

-- Francisco Jose Ameliach Orta, who was appointed as a member of the presidential commission and elected constituent for the Valencia municipality.

-- Erika del Valle Farias Pena, who leads the electoral structure and mechanics for the Constituent Command Zamora 200. She was elected constituent for Ezequiel Zamora municipality.

-- Carmen Teresa Melendez Rivas, who is responsible for coordinating the street government command for the Constituent Command Zamora 200. She was elected constituent for Iribarren municipality.

-- Ramon Dario Vivas Velasco, who is in charge of the permanent mobilization team for the Constituent Command Zamora 200. He was elected constituent for Vargas municipality.

-- Hermann Eduardo Escarra Malave, who who was appointed as a member of the presidential commission and elected constituent for the Zamora municipality.

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