U.S. blacklists Venezuelan lawmakers, alleging election manipulation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Venezuelan lawmakers it accused of supporting the country's leftist leader, Nicolas Maduro, and his planned legislative elections that Washington has said will likely be rigged.

Reuters September 23, 2020 00:12:11 IST
U.S. blacklists Venezuelan lawmakers, alleging election manipulation

US blacklists Venezuelan lawmakers alleging election manipulation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Venezuelan lawmakers it accused of supporting the country's leftist leader, Nicolas Maduro, and his planned legislative elections that Washington has said will likely be rigged.

The Treasury in a statement accused the five blacklisted of having acted as part of a scheme to manipulate parliamentary elections set to take place in December by "placing control of Venezuela’s opposition parties in the hands of politicians affiliated with Nicolas Maduro’s regime, undermining any credible opposition challenge to that regime."

Most of the opposition and the United States have said the December elections will likely be rigged in favor of the ruling socialist party.

"The United States remains committed to holding the Maduro regime and its supporters accountable for their blatant corruption to ensure that the Venezuelan people secure the free and fair election they deserve," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

The Treasury blacklisted the leaders of the four main Venezuelan opposition parties, appointed by the Maduro-friendly Supreme Court or seeking the court's recognition of their leadership, as part of what opposition leaders describe as an effort by the government to put the opposition parties in control of shadow allies.

Those blacklisted are: Miguel Ponente, Guillermo Luces, Bernabe Gutierrez, and Chaim Bucaran.

The Treasury also imposed sanctions on Williams Benavides, the head of the Tupamaro leftist movement that supports Maduro.

Tuesday's move freezes any U.S. assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.

The United States and dozens of other countries have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president, regarding Maduro’s 2018 re-election as a sham. But Maduro has remained in power, backed by the country’s military and by Russia, China and Cuba.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, Brian Ellsworth, Matt Spetalnick and Luc Cohen; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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

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