Trump administration targets Maduro's son 'Nicolasito' with sanctions

By Roberta Rampton (Reuters) - The Trump administration turned up the pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday by targeting his son Nicolas 'Nicolasito' Maduro with sanctions, the U.S. Treasury Department said. The new sanctions are the latest push in six months of efforts to oust Maduro, whose 2018 re-election has been deemed illegitimate by the United States and most Western nations

Reuters June 29, 2019 07:05:20 IST
Trump administration targets Maduro's son 'Nicolasito' with sanctions

Trump administration targets Maduros son Nicolasito with sanctions

By Roberta Rampton

(Reuters) - The Trump administration turned up the pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday by targeting his son Nicolas "Nicolasito" Maduro with sanctions, the U.S. Treasury Department said.

The new sanctions are the latest push in six months of efforts to oust Maduro, whose 2018 re-election has been deemed illegitimate by the United States and most Western nations.

Maduro's son has been involved in propaganda and censorship, has profited from Venezuelan mines, and helped pressure the military to keep humanitarian aid out of the country, the Treasury Department said.

"Maduro relies on his son Nicolasito and others close to his authoritarian regime to maintain a stranglehold on the economy and suppress the people of Venezuela," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

"Treasury will continue to target complicit relatives of illegitimate regime insiders profiting off of Maduro's corruption," said Mnuchin, who is in Osaka, Japan, with President Donald Trump for a G20 summit.

The Venezuelan government called the new measures "illegal" and said they had the "dark aim" of trying to directly attack Maduro's family after the Trump administration's previous attempts to overthrow the socialist leader had failed.

The government "rejects the continued attacks by the Trump administration that seek to undermine, unsuccessfully, the spirit and will of a people determined to take the reins of their own destiny," it said in a statement.

Washington has thrown its support behind opposition leader Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela's National Assembly, who invoked the country's constitution in January to declare himself interim president.

Maduro has retained the backing of the country's military and other institutions, and calls Guaido a Washington puppet.

The new sanctions come as Trump holds a series of meetings with world leaders on the sidelines of the G20.

Trump raised the subject of Venezuela with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who backs Maduro, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a Guaido supporter, on the first day of the summit.

Asked whether momentum had been lost in efforts to oust Maduro, Trump told reporters: "No, not at all. Things take time."

VENEZUELA STILL IN TRUMP'S FOCUS

On the second day of the G20, Trump is scheduled to speak with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Chinese President Xi Jinping, both of whom support Maduro.

"Venezuela is going to come up at most of the conversations the president has out there. That's because the president has not lost focus on Venezuela," a senior U.S. administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

More information will be released in coming weeks about the younger Maduro's "direct role in corruption," the official said, declining to give further details.

Maduro appointed his son the head of the Corps of Inspectors of the Presidency and he is also a member of Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly, a pro-Maduro legislative superbody created by the government in 2017 to override the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

The United States does not regard the National Constituent Assembly as legitimate and has previously imposed sanctions on other people involved in it.

The Treasury designation means that any assets held by the younger Maduro in the United States will be frozen - and will make it difficult for him to move money through the international banking system.

The senior administration official declined comment on whether the younger Maduro has assets in the United States.

The Trump administration is continuing to work on sanctions for other individuals connected to Maduro, including magistrates on Venezuela's supreme court who have not yet been designated, the official said.

"We will continue to target corruption and squeeze the Maduro regime until it no longer has funds with which to prop itself up," the official said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton in Osaka; Additional reporting by Angus Berwick in Caracas; Editing by Bill Trott and Rosalba O'Brien)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.