The Trump administration slapped sanctions on 10 Venezuelan officials Thursday on allegations of corruption and rights violations after President Nicolas Maduro’s candidates swept nationwide state governor elections last month. The individuals are associated with undermining electoral processes, media censorship, or corruption in Maduro’s administered food programs in Venezuela, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said in a statement. As a result of the Treasury’s action, all of the sanctioned individuals’ assets under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen and all U.S. citizens are prohibited from dealing with them. Maduro’s allies claimed a landslide victory in October’s gubernatorial elections, while opposition candidates accused the government of election tampering and fraud. Since then, Venezuela’s legislative super body has moved to silence some of Maduro’s most strident critics — stripping the parliamentary immunity of Freddy Guevara, vice president of the opposition-led National Assembly — and approving legislation to clamp down on the media.
“As the Venezuelan government continues to disregard the will of its people, our message remains clear: the United States will not stand aside while the Maduro regime continues to destroy democratic order and prosperity in Venezuela,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.
The sanctions come just days before the cash-strapped government is summoning bondholders to the capital, Caracas, for talks to renegotiate its outstanding foreign debt.