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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

US sanctions eight more Venezuelan officials, including Chavez brother

Adan Chavez, the late President Hugo Chavez's elder brother, is secretary of the new assembly’s presidential commission

Adan Chavez, the elder brother of the late President Hugo Chavez, has had sanctions imposed on him by the Trump administration. Credit: Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg
Adan Chavez, the elder brother of the late President Hugo Chavez, has had sanctions imposed on him by the Trump administration. Credit: Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg

The Trump administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on eight more Venezuelan officials, including the brother of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, to punish them for helping President Nicolas Maduro to create a new legislative superbody, US officials said.

The United States targeted individual politicians and security figures but stopped short of placing broader financial or "sectoral" sanctions on its vital oil industry – though such actions, the officials told Reuters, are still under consideration.

The new measures announced by the Treasury Department will freeze their US assets, ban them from travel to the United States and prohibit Americans from doing business with them. Washington slapped sanctions on Maduro himself last week following similar action against 13 Venezuelan figures on July 26.

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It marked a further escalation of the US response to Maduro’s crackdown on the opposition and the establishment last week of the new constituent assembly, an all-powerful body run by his Socialist Party loyalists and which has drawn international condemnation.

"President Maduro swore in this illegitimate Constituent Assembly to further entrench his dictatorship," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "This regime’s disregard for the will of the Venezuelan people is unacceptable, and the United States will stand with them in opposition to tyranny."

Most prominent among those targeted on Wednesday was Adan Chavez, 64, a physicist and late President Hugo Chavez's elder brother. He is former culture minister, served for nearly a decade as governor of his home state of Barinas and is now secretary of the new assembly’s presidential commission.

Also facing sanctions was Bladimir Armas, a National Guard colonel accused by government critics of human rights abuses.

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