CARACAS, Venezuela — The Latest on Venezuela’s election of an assembly to rewrite its constitution (all times local):
The Trump administration has hit Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with financial sanctions.
The move comes after Venezuela held a weekend election that will give Maduro’s ruling party virtually unlimited power in the South American country.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced the sanctions against Maduro in a brief statement on Monday, a day after the Venezuelan vote to elect a constituent assembly that will rewrite the constitution. A longer explanation from the White House was also expected.
The 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 Maduro went ahead with Sunday’s election for the assembly.
Venezuela’s chief prosecutor says the newly elected constituent assembly is certain to do away with the last vestiges of democracy in Venezuela, but says she intends to continue in her post.
Luisa Ortega Diaz said in a speech Monday that the new assembly that is supposed to rewrite the constitution will put “absolute power” in the hands of a minority certain to abolish essential political rights like the freedom of expression.
She said that Venezuela is now run by a state with “dictatorial ambitions.”
The longtime government loyalist broke with President Nicolas Maduro in March and has become one of his fiercest critics.
Maduro has urged the assembly to immediately declare her office in a state of emergency and restructure it.
But Ortega Diaz says the assembly will not stop her office from continuing to fulfill its responsibilities.