US imposes sanctions linked to Venezuela over suspected rigged elections

Maduro, who accused the US of seeking to topple him in order to take ownership of Venezuela’s crude, lashed out at Pompeo in reaction to the announcement. On Friday, the United States placed sanctions on two individuals and a corporation that appears to have played a part in corrupt elections in Venezuela, keeping up pressure on socialist President Nicolas Maduro, even as US President Donald Trump’s term is approaching close.The US Treasury Department announced that it blacklisted the Venezuelan biometric technology firm Ex-Cle Solutions Biometricas C.A., which it said offered products and services used by the Maduro government to conduct parliamentary elections earlier this month.The United States, the European Union and more than a dozen Latin American countries said last week that they did not accept the outcome of the December 6 parliamentary elections in Venezuela, which saw Maduro’s allies gain a majority.

“The illegitimate Maduro regime’s efforts to steal elections in Venezuela show its disregard for the democratic aspirations of the Venezuelan people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement on Friday.

“The United States remains committed to targeting the Maduro regime and those who support its aim to deny the Venezuelan people their right to free and fair elections,” he added.

Two people said to have worked for or on behalf of Ex-Cle Solutions Biometricas C.A., targeting dual Argentinian and Italian national Guillermo Carlos San Agustin and Venezuelan Marcos Javier Machado Requena, were also targeted. Maduro, who accused the United States of attempting to topple him in order to take control of Venezuela’s oil resources, lashed out to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in response to the announcement.

“The disgraceful Mike Pompeo today put out some stupid sanctions, like the good imbecile that he is …. against the company and businessmen that manufactured machines so that the Venezuelan people could vote,” Maduro said in a televised broadcast.

The step freezes any US properties of the business and the people, and basically prohibits Americans from dealing with them. The Trump administration has waged a policy of tariffs and diplomatic steps to overthrow Maduro, whose re-election in 2018 was deemed a hoax by most Western countries.

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