U.S. Freezes Assets of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday imposed sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, citing human rights abuses and calling a Sunday vote to give his administration the powers to redraft the constitution an illegitimate action designed to create an authoritarian regime.

The move freezes any assets Mr. Maduro has within U.S. jurisdiction, though it was immediately unclear if he had any, and put the Venezuelan president in a small club of heads of state targeted by the U.S. Treasury.

"Yesterday's illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people," U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. "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."

Treasury also warned that any officials connected with the constituent assembly, which Mr. Maduro plans to use to rewrite the constitution, also face sanctions.

Treasury made no mention of any oil-related sanctions even though senior administration officials had warned that Washington was prepared to ban petroleum trade with Venezuela if the president moves ahead with the constituent assembly. Analysts said the administration will likely continue ratcheting up sanctions against Venezuela, keeping an oil and products ban as a possible new threat.

(More to Come)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 31, 2017 16:17 ET (20:17 GMT)