Aug 1, 2017 @ 9:22

By: Agence France-Presse

The United States on Monday branded Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a “dictator” on a par with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad or North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, and imposed sanctions on him.

“Maduro is not just a bad leader, he is now a dictator,” President Donald Trump’s national safety adviser HR McMaster informed reporters.

“The United States stands with the people of Venezuela in the face of this oppression.”

Sunday’s vote in Venezuela to elect a Constituent Assembly that might supersede the nation’s opposition-controlled National Assembly triggered worldwide scorn — and a US response.

“Yesterday’s illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated.

“By sanctioning Maduro, the United States makes clear our opposition to the policies of his regime and our support for the people of Venezuela who seek to return their country to a full and prosperous democracy.”

Washington has lengthy been a critic of Maduro — and of his late predecessor Hugo Chavez — however Monday’s assertion marks the primary time that senior officers have publicly branded him a dictator.

And the United States has already imposed sanctions on a number of Venezuelan people and organizations, however, in taking the uncommon step of concentrating on a sitting head of state by identify, it signaled rising alarm on the disaster.

Mnuchin stated Maduro was solely the fourth international chief to be blacklisted on this approach, and McMaster warned he had joined an “exclusive club” led by Assad, Kim and Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.

The order doesn’t, nonetheless, impose restrictions on Venezuela’s large oil exports to the United States — a key lifeline for the nation’s tottering economic system but additionally its leftist anti-American authorities.

– Mum on oil sanctions –
Mnuchin wouldn’t be drawn on whether or not oil sanctions are being thought-about, however famous that Trump had determined to not take measures that might damage the “Venezuelan people” moderately than Maduro’s allies.

The Treasury secretary urged these elected to the controversial Constituent Assembly to not take their seats, and warned that any who assist the imposition of “an authoritarian regime” may also face sanctions.

“As a result of today’s actions, all assets of Nicolas Maduro subject to US jurisdiction are frozen, and US persons are prohibited from dealing with him,” he stated.

Mnuchin wouldn’t touch upon whether or not his investigators consider that Maduro has any property on US soil or liable to go by means of the US monetary system.

“Under Maduro, the Venezuelan government has deliberately and repeatedly abused the rights of citizens through the use of violence, repression and criminalization of demonstrations,” he alleged.

“At his path, the regime’s safety forces have systematically repressed and criminalized opposition events by means of arbitrary detention, navy prosecution of civilians and the extreme use of drive in opposition to demonstrators.

“Any member of the opposition or critic of the regime risks being detained, imprisoned, assaulted, tortured and assassinated.”(AFP)