U.S. blacklists Venezuelan lawmakers, alleging election manipulation
24 Sep 2020

The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Venezuelan lawmakers it accused of supporting the country’s leftist leader, Nicolas Maduro, and his planned legislative elections that Washington has said will likely be rigged.

The Treasury in a statement accused the five blacklisted individuals of having acted as part of a scheme to manipulate parliamentary elections set to take place in December by “placing control of Venezuela’s opposition parties in the hands of politicians affiliated with Nicolas Maduro’s regime, undermining any credible opposition challenge to that regime.”

Most of the opposition and the United States have said the December elections will likely be rigged in favor of the ruling socialist party.

In a state television address later on Tuesday, Maduro said he “repudiated” the U.S. government’s move.

“The group that governs the United States acts like a mafia, with threats, extortion, blackmail and aggressions,” Maduro said.

In a statement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: “The United States remains committed to holding the Maduro regime and its supporters accountable for their blatant corruption to ensure that the Venezuelan people secure the free and fair election they deserve,”

The Treasury blacklisted the leaders of the four main Venezuelan opposition parties, appointed by the Maduro-friendly Supreme Court or seeking the court’s recognition of their leadership, as part of what opposition leaders describe as an effort by the government to put the opposition parties in control of shadow allies.

By Daphne Psaledakis, Brian Ellsworth, Matt Spetalnick, Luc Cohen and Deisy Buitrago, Reuters, 22 September 2020

Read more at Reuters

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