US Treasury sanctions Venezuelan leader's top aide Cabello

James Marshall
May 21, 2018

The latest sanctions come just two days before the country holds an election that Maduro is nearly certain to win.

President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government has been giving Venezuelan identification cards to Colombians in order to transport them over the border to vote for him in Sunday's presidential elections, the Colombian government said on Thursday. The US apparently hopes that additional sanctions will eventually bring about democracy in the South American country, which is suffering from declining oil production, hyperinflation and food shortages.

In April, Vice President Pence announced that the US would give almost $16 million to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to assist Venezuelans, who have fled to Colombia and Brazil.

The Trump administration has warned recently that it could impose tighter sanctions on Caracas to combat human rights and political abuses under President Nicolás Maduro.

It also imposed sanctions on his brother, Jose David Cabello, accusing him of "extorting money for personal gains", and Marleny Josefina Contreras, who heads the country's tourism institute and is married to Diosdado Cabello. This week protestors gathered in the capital Caracas to protest the vote, which they say is rigged.

Maduro insists the election will be free and fair, and accuses the opposition of refusing to participate because it knows it can not win.

The hardline opposition party Popular Will on Saturday reiterated its call for Venezuelans to boycott the election and described it as an "electoral sham that seeks to validate the dictatorship in Venezuela and the world".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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