US sanctions Venezuela first lady, Maduro allies


The US sanctioned Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s wife and several close associates in an escalation of Trump administration efforts to punish the socialist regime for corruption and anti-democratic practices.
Cilia Flores de Maduro, 61, is the first lady, a former attorney general and head of the National Assembly. Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez, as well as Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino were also included. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday shortly after the penalties were announced that his administration is looking at further sanctions “very strongly.”
“What is going on in Venezuela really is unacceptable,” Trump said during a meeting with Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez at the United Nations. “The Maduro regime is obviously not doing the job.”
US pressure on Maduro has increased as the South American nation deals with hyperinflation that’s expected to reach one million percent by the end of the year, vast food shortages and collapsing oil production. Maduro is widely unpopular but has clung to power through what the US says are rigged elections and corruption.
“President Maduro relies on his inner circle to maintain his grip on power, as his regime systematically plunders what remains of Venezuela’s wealth,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “We are continuing to designate loyalists who enable Maduro to solidify his hold on the military and the government while the Venezuelan people suffer.

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