The United States has introduced sanctions against the son of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the US Department of the Treasury announced on its website on Friday.
"Today, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the son of Venezuela’s illegitimate regime leader Nicolas Maduro Moros, who was previously sanctioned on July 31, 2017," the release said. "This action, taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13692, targets Nicolas ‘Nicolasito’ Ernesto Maduro Guerra (Maduro Guerra) for being a current or former official of the government of Venezuela."
The Treasury Department said in the release that Maduro Guerra is a member of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly.
"The National Constituent Assembly, which seeks to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution and dissolve Venezuelan state institutions, was created through an undemocratic process instigated by Maduro’s government to subvert the will of the Venezuelan people," the Treasury Department said.
The president’s son has also been involved in propaganda and censorship efforts and has profited from Venezuelan mines along with Maduro and his wife, Cilia Flores, the Treasury Department claimed.
"Earlier this year, Maduro Guerra was devising a strategy to pressure the Venezuelan National Armed Forces to deny humanitarian aid from entering Venezuela by characterizing it as an attempt to undermine Venezuela’s democracy,” the Treasury Department said. “He also worked to increase censorship of Venezuela’s telecommunications infrastructure, framing the censorship as necessary because of US Government activities."
Later in the day, the US Department of State said in a release that the United States is calling on other nations to increase pressure on the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
"The United States urges all nations to step up economic and diplomatic pressure on Maduro and his corrupt associates," the release said. "We continue to stand with the people of Venezuela, interim President Juan Guaido, and the National Assembly as they continue their struggle for freedom and prosperity."
Protests against Maduro began in Venezuela on January 21 soon after he was sworn in for a new term. Opposition leader Juan Guaido then proclaimed himself to be the interim president of Venezuela.
The United States and 54 other countries have recognized Guaido as president of Venezuela. Russia, China, Bolivia, Turkey and numerous other countries have said they recognize Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.
Maduro has called Guaido a US puppet and accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup in Venezuela to force a change in government and claim the country’s vast natural resources.