“We urge those who were elected to the Constituent Assembly to decline to take office,” the statement concluded.
In an unusual move, the U.S. Treasury Department announced it is imposing sanctions, directly on Venezuela’s democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro as it increases pressure on the Venezuelan government.
Over 8 million people voted in Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly election Sunday — a turnout of over 41 percent, according to electoral authorities — to choose from 6,120 candidates for the 545-member ANC in a mass display of support for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
“Anyone who participates in this illegitimate ANC could be exposed to future U.S. sanctions for their role in undermining democratic processes and institutions in Venezuela,” said Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin.
“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,” he added.
In a short news briefing, Mnuchin had no comment on questions posed on whether the United States communicated with Maduro prior to announcing the sanctions or whether further economic sanctions on the oil trade were in the pipeline, only saying that the administration continues to review all of its options and work with allied countries in the region.
The announcement was followed by a press briefing where White House officials painted a highly inaccurate picture of the democratic process leading up to the drafting of a new constitution.
“Maduro is not just a bad leader. He is now a dictator,” national security adviser H.R. McMaster said. “Recent actions culminating in yesterday’s seizure of absolute power through the sham election of the National Constituent Assembly represent a very serious blow to democracy in our hemisphere.”
As with its sanctions against 13 high-level government officials last week, all of Maduro’s assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction are now frozen and people from the U.S. are prohibited from dealing with the head of state.
“The U.S. government and democratic governments worldwide continue to call on the Venezuelan government to halt the ANC process … We urge those who were elected to the Constituent Assembly to decline to take office,” the statement concluded.
Over 8 Million Vote in Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly Election
The National Electoral Council announced that voter turnout for the National Constituent Assembly was over 41 percent.
The president of the National Electoral Council Tibisay Lucena has announced that turnout in Venezuela’s historic National Constituent Assembly was over 41 percent, indicating that over 8 million people voted in the elections.
“Peace has won. If peace has won, Venezuela has won,” she said at a televised press conference. “Despite the violence and threats, Venezuelans were able to express themselves.”
Lucena said the CNE had to relocate some voting centers to avoid violence, and that on Tuesday the Indigenous communities will choose its eight remaining representatives.
President Nicolas Maduro spoke to a large crowd in Caracas and thanked their support to reach peace in the country. Maduro said it was one of the highest voter turnouts of the Bolivarian Revolution with 8,089, 320 voting for their representatives
“Eight million in the middle of threats, there were states where they crossed rivers and mountains, and they voted,” Maduro said.
“The people of Venezuela have given a lesson on democracy,” President Maduro said.
Maduro thanked Latin America and the Caribbean countries for their support against what he called interventionist moves by the United States. Referring to President Donald Trump’s promise that he would not accept the results of this election, Maduro said: “We don’t care what Trump says, we care about what our people say”
“This election will mark the future years of the independence of Latin America,” Maduro said. “Latin America will begin a new wave of struggle.”
The Venezuelan president repeated that the first step before the legislative body begins the Constituent process will be to call, yet again, for a dialogue with the right-wing opposition in the country. Maduro also called on the opposition to abandon violence and return to doing politics.
Voting hours were extended by one hour due to the overwhelming response, as hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans from across the country lined up long before dawn to cast their ballots for the 545 candidates.
The voting process has been peaceful with the exception of a few isolated incidents of violence as opposition supporters protested and staged guarimbas in a bid to shut down the election.
A feeling of excitement filled the crowds in the center of Caracas, as citizens sang, danced and laughed after the end of the process to choose its delegates to the legislative body that will draft the new Constitution.
This article (In Continued Threats, US Sanctions Venezuelan President Maduro) was originally published on teleSUR and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.