US Targets Maduro-Picked Top Legislator, Six Others in Fresh Venezuelan Sanctions

By Reuters
January 13, 2020World News
US Targets Maduro-Picked Top Legislator, Six Others in Fresh Venezuelan Sanctions
Venezuela's opposition lawmaker Luis Parra delivers a speech after swearing in as parliament speaker, at the National Assembly in Caracas, on Jan. 5, 2020. (Federico Parra/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON—The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on seven Venezuelan government officials it said led a bid by Venezuelan socialist President Nicolas Maduro to wrest control of the country’s congress from U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Earlier this month, troops blocked Guaido from entering congress long enough for the Socialist Party to declare allied legislator Luis Parra as head of parliament.

Opposition legislators in a separate session on Jan. 5 re-elected Guaido and later returned to the legislative palace to hold a session.

Washington blacklisted Parra and six other current or former officials “who, at the bidding of Maduro, attempted to block the democratic process in Venezuela,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, left, who many nations have recognized as the country’s rightful interim ruler, arrives at the National Assembly in Caracas, where he is due to be voted in for a second term as parliament speaker, on Jan. 5, 2020. (Yuri Cortez/AFP via Getty Images)

Sanctions prohibit access to U.S. financial markets, freeze any assets in U.S. control and prohibit those in the United States from any transactions with those targeted.

The other Maduro-aligned National Assembly delegates blacklisted on Monday are Jose Noriega, Franklyn Duarte, Jose Brito, Conrado Perez, Adolfo Superlano and Negal Morales.

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