International News

US slaps sanctions on Venezuelan leader’s top aide Cabello

The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Venezuelan socialist party boss Diosdado Cabello in a bid to further pressure the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
The sanctions by the Treasury Department on one of Venezuela’s most powerful men came Friday just two days before the crisis-stricken country goes to the polls for an election Maduro is widely expected to win.
“The Venezuelan people suffer under corrupt politicians who tighten their grip on power while lining their own pockets,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
“We are imposing costs on figures like Diosdado Cabello who exploit their official positions to engage in narcotics trafficking, money laundering, embezzlement of state funds, and other corrupt activities.”
The new sanctions will freeze any US assets Cabello has and prevents Americans from doing business with him.
The Trump administration has already urged Latin America to cut off the country’s officials from financial systems.
In recent months, the US has sanctioned dozens of top Venezuelan officials, including Maduro, over allegations of human rights abuses, drug trafficking and the erosion of democratic safeguards.
US Vice President Mike Pence urged Maduro on Monday to suspend what he called was a “sham” election.
Maduro, who is seeking a second six-year term on Sunday, has warned of foreign plots to mar the upcoming election.
“Imperialism tried to stop the elections with external threats, and could not and will not do it. [Imperialism] tried to stop the elections, with violent protests; they could not and will not be able to,” Maduro told the huge crowd attending the rally Thursday.
He says the opposition is incited by the United States to topple his socialist government.
The 55-year-old Maduro, who took power in 2013 after the death of Hugo Chavez, has survived massive anti-government protests during the past two years.