U.S. set to hit Venezuela with new sanctions after election

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is preparing to levy new sanctions on Venezuela, U.S. officials said Monday, in response to a weekend election that gives the South American country’s ruling party virtually unlimited powers.

The officials said the new sanctions could be imposed as early as Monday and will likely target Venezuela’s oil sector, including possibly its state-owned petroleum company. One official said an announcement was imminent. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The administration imposed sanctions on more than a dozen senior current and former Venezuelan officials last week, warning the socialist government that new penalties would come if President Nicolas Maduro went ahead with Sunday’s election for a constituent assembly.

The assembly will draw up a new constitution that many believe is aimed only at securing Maduro’s increasingly authoritarian rule. On Monday, Venezuela’s government said the election had given it a popular mandate to dramatically recast the political system, despite widespread claims of low voter turnout.

The Trump administration was quick to denounce the vote.

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