WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States is imposing sanctions on eight more individuals, including the brother of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, for undermining democracy in the South American country.
The Treasury Department says seven are current or former Venezuelan government officials. The U.S. accuses them of supporting the creation of a constituent assembly that's charged with rewriting Venezuela's constitution and has declared itself superior to all other government institutions.
Chávez's brother Adán Chávez - among those targeted - has been appointed secretary of the new assembly.
The U.S. has called the vote to create the assembly illegitimate and a sign that President Nicolás Maduro is trying to strengthen what the U.S. calls his "dictatorship."
The U.S. previously targeted Maduro with sanctions, in a rare action against a foreign head of state.
"President Maduro swore in this illegitimate Constituent Assembly to further entrench his dictatorship, and continues to tighten his grip on the country," said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. "This regime's disregard for the will of the Venezuelan people is unacceptable, and the United States will stand with them in opposition to tyranny until Venezuela is restored to a peaceful and prosperous democracy."
Here is a list of the eight officials named by the Treasury Department:
- Francisco Jose Ameliach Orta was appointed a member of the Presidential Commission for the AC. He is the AC Constituent for Valencia Municipality in Carabobo State. He was formerly the Governor of Carabobo State.
- Adan Coromoto Chavez Frias was appointed the Secretary of the Presidential Commission for the AC. He is the AC Constituent for Barinas Municipality in Barinas State. He was the former Minister of Culture and former Governor of Barinas State. He is the brother of deceased former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
- Erika del Valle Farias Pena leads the electoral structure and mechanics for the Constituent Command Zamora 200. She is the AC Constituent for Ezequiel Zamora Municipality in Cojedes State. She was formerly the Minister of Urban Agriculture.
- Carmen Teresa Melendez Rivas is responsible for coordinating the street government command for the Constituent Command Zamora 200. She is the AC Constituent for Iribarren Municipality in Lara State. She was formerly the Sectoral Vice President of Political Sovereignty, Security, and Peace.
- Ramon Dario Vivas Velasco is in charge of the permanent mobilization team for the Constituent Command Zamora 200. He is the AC Constituent for Vargas Municipality in Vargas State. He was formerly a National Assembly Deputy for Vargas State.
- Hermann Eduardo Escarra Malave was appointed a member of the Presidential Commission for the AC. He is the AC Constituent for Zamora Municipality in Miranda State.
- Tania D'Amelio Cardiet, a rector of Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE). Has publicly defended the AC and is believed to be among the CNE officials that former Attorney General Luisa Ortega began to investigate for possible AC election fraud.
- Bladimir Humberto Lugo Armas, the Commander of the Special Unit to the Federal Legislative Palace of Venezuela's Bolivarian National Guard. Responsible for security of the Federal Legislative Palace, the location of Venezuela's National Assembly. Lugo Armas has been involved in several acts of violence against National Assembly opposition members.