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US slaps sanctions on son of Venezuelan leader Maduro

The action freezes any assets Nicolas Ernesto Maduro Guerra has in the United States and bars American individuals or institutions from doing business with him.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro delivers a speech on the signature campaign launched to urge the United States' to put a halt to intervention threats against his government, at Bolivar square in Caracas, on 7 February 2019. Picture: AFP

WASHINGTON - The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on the son of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for serving in his father's "illegitimate regime."

"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," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in announcing the action.

"Treasury will continue to target complicit relatives of illegitimate regime insiders profiting off of Maduro’s corruption," he said.

The action freezes any assets Nicolas Ernesto Maduro Guerra has in the United States and bars American individuals or institutions from doing business with him.

The latest US action comes as Maduro moves to consolidate his hold on power after a failed coup attempt by opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Guaido, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, is recognized by the United States and more than 50 other countries as Venezuela's acting president.

In targeting Maduro's son, the Treasury noted that he was a member of the pro-government Constituent Assembly, which Maduro has used to sideline the National Assembly.

It also said that Maduro Guerra "has profited from Venezuelan mines along with Maduro and his wife, Cilia Flores," and engaged in propaganda and censorship efforts on behalf of his father's government.

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