US imposes financial sanctions on Venezuela president after election

The US has hit Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with financial sanctions after an election to rewrite the constitution.

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control announced the sanctions against Mr Maduro in a brief statement, a day after Venezuelans gave the president's ruling party virtually unlimited power in the South American country.

The Trump administration imposed sanctions on more than a dozen senior current and former Venezuelan officials last week, warning the socialist government that new penalties would come if Mr Maduro went ahead with Sunday's election for the assembly.

Electoral authorities claimed more than eight million people voted on Sunday to create a constitutional assembly endowing Mr Maduro's ruling party with virtually unlimited powers, though independent analysts estimated the real turnout was less than half that figure.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, the governor of the central state of Miranda, urged Venezuelans to protest on Monday against an assembly that critics fear will effectively create a single-party state.

Mr Maduro has said the new assembly will begin to govern within a week.

He said he would use the assembly's powers to bar opposition candidates from running in gubernatorial elections in December unless they sit with his party to negotiate an end to hostilities that have generated four months of protests that have killed at least 125 and wounded nearly 2,000.

Venezuela's chief prosecutor's office reported 10 deaths in new rounds of clashes on Sunday between protesters and police.

Mr Maduro said a new constitution is the only way to end such conflicts.

"The people have delivered the constitutional assembly," Mr Maduro said on national television.

"More than eight million in the middle of threats ... it's when imperialism challenges us that we prove ourselves worthy of the blood of the liberators that runs through the veins of men, women, children and young people."

Nations including Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Spain, Britain and the United States said they would not recognise Sunday's vote.

AP


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