US imposes sanctions on Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro

US imposes sanctions on Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro

US imposes sanctions
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro is now subject to a US asset freeze

The US government has frozen any assets held by Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro in the US, after he held a controversial poll.

Under the sanctions, US firms and individuals are banned from doing business with him.

The election of a constituent assembly on Sunday was held amid mass protests. At least 10 people were killed.

Mr Maduro said the poll was a “vote for the revolution”, saying “sanctions from the empire don’t scare me”.

It is unclear whether the president holds investments in the US and Washington’s action was likely to be seen as symbolic.

“The emperor Donald Trump took decisions against me that show his desperation and hate,” President Maduro said in a televised speech on Monday.

“I don’t obey orders from foreign governments and never will… Sanction me as you wish, but the Venezuelan people have decided to be free and I am the independent president of a free nation.”

Venezuela’s new constituent assembly will have the power to rewrite the constitution and disband the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

The opposition coalition, which boycotted the election, said 88% of voters had abstained. It has refused to recognise the poll. Electoral officials said the turnout was 41.5%.

Protesters have blocked a number of roads in the capital, Caracas.

A march scheduled for later on Monday to honour those killed on polling day appears to have been postponed until Wednesday, the day that the constituent assembly is due to meet.

Venezuela’s attorney general, Luisa Ortega, a vocal critic of the Maduro government, called the vote an expression of “dictatorial ambition”.

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