US hits Venezuelan officials with new sanctions, including the brother of former leader Hugo Chavez

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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The US first imposed sanctions on a dozen senior officials late last month (Source: Getty)

The White House announced it imposed sanctions on eight more Venezuelan officials today, including the brother of the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, for undermining democracy in the country.

The US did not impose broader financial or "sectoral" sanctions on the country's key oil industry, though they have said such actions are still under consideration.

The fresh sanctions punish officials by freezing their US assets, banning travel to the US and prohibiting them from doing business with Americans. They were put in place because the officials helped President Nicolas Maduro create a new legislative superbody, US officials said.

Trump's administration has slapped sanctions on Maduro himself and a number of other officials over the past few weeks.

Maduro last week established a new constituent assembly - an all-powerful body run by his socialist party loyalists.

"President Maduro swore in this illegitimate constituent assembly to further entrench his dictatorship," US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

"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."

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