Trump administration sanctions son of Venezuela's Maduro

Trump administration sanctions son of Venezuela's Maduro

The Trump administration on Friday announced sanctions against the son of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro amid questions over whether its push to oust the embattled Venezuelan leader has stalled.

The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Nicolás “Nicolasito” Ernesto Maduro Guerra for his role in the National Constituent Assembly, which the Trump administration alleged was created fraudulently to prop up Maduro's administration.

“Maduro’s regime was built on fraudulent elections, and his inner circle lives in luxury off the proceeds of corruption while the Venezuelan people suffer,” Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOvernight Defense: Trump hits Iranian central bank with sanctions | Trump meeting with Ukrainian leader at UN | Trump touts relationship with North Korea's Kim as 'best thing' for US Trump says he's sanctioning Iran's national bank Lawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills MORE said. “Maduro relies on his son Nicolasito and others close to his authoritarian regime to maintain a stranglehold on the economy and suppress the people of Venezuela."

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The U.S. government further alleged that Maduro Guerra has been involved in propaganda and censorship efforts and that he worked to pressure Venezuelan forces to deny humanitarian aid from entering the country.

The penalties targeting Maduro Guerra are part of a slew of sanctions levied by the Trump administration in an effort to force Maduro to give up power.

The administration sanctioned Maduro himself in 2017, and the Venezuelan leader has overseen a worsening humanitarian and economic crisis in the country.

The Trump administration has led a coalition of nations in backing opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who led a clash with government officials during an uprising in April. But the episode ended with Maduro still in power, and he has remained there despite mounting sanctions.

Trump met Friday with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at the Group of 20 summit in Brazil, where he denied that the administration had lost momentum in achieving its goals in Venezuela. 

"Things take time," Trump said. "But we’re behind a certain group of people; you know who the people are. We’re behind the people of Venezuela. That’s who we’re really behind, more than anything else. And we’ve been helping them a lot. We’ve been bringing a lot of food and a lot of medical and a lot of other things to Venezuela."