Venezuelan leaders reacted to new sanctions passed against the country by the Trump administration Thursday, calling the measures "absurd and desperate."
"These new unilateral coercive measures are a sign of @RealDonaldTrump's contempt for the Venezuelan people, as they ignore their sovereign will, expressed on multiple occasions through the popular vote," said Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza through his twitter account.
1. Rechazamos nueva oleada de pretendidas sanciones unilaterales de la administración de @realDonaldTrump contra funcionari@s del Estado venezolano. Venezuela es un país libre, independiente y soberano que ejercerá permanentemente su derecho a la autodeterminación— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) November 9, 2017
The U.S. Treasury Department added 10 more Venezuelans to its list of sanctioned individuals, including members of the National Electoral Board, the National Constituent Assembly, and other government officials, in the latest step by the Donald Trump administration to try to pressure the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
They include Minister of Culture Ernesto Emilio Villegas Poljak; Socorro Elizabeth Hernandez de Hernandez, Carlos Enrique Quintero Cuevas and Sandra Oblitas Ruzza, members of the National Electoral Board; Elvis Eduardo Hidrobo Amoroso, Second Vice President of the Assembly; and Freddy Alirio Bernal Rosales, head of the country's Local Committees of Supply and Production.
The other officials are Venezuela's Minister of the Office of the Presidency Jorge Elieser Marquez Monsalve; Carlos Alberto Osorio Zambrano, President of the Superior Organ of Venezuela's Transport Mission; Venezuelan Ambassador to Italy Julian Isaias Rodriguez Diaz; and Miguel Angel Fernandez Melendez.
In a statement on its website, the treasury department said that the Office of Foreign Assets Control has added the officials to its Specially Designated Nationals List.
Newly appointed communications minister Jorge Rodriguez said the move was specifically motivated to undermine dialogue with the country's opposition.
It is no accident that @realDonaldTrump imposes new sanctions today when Venezuela's right-wing announces willingness to continue national dialogue.
With several people on the list directly linked to Venezuela's Assembly, the United States has continued to target the popularly-elected body aimed at seeking dialogue and a peaceful solution to the political turmoil the country faced earlier this year.
After the U.S. government sanctioned Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on July 31, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned thereafter that all those who participated in the "illegitimate ANC could be exposed to future U.S. sanctions for their role in undermining democratic processes and institutions in Venezuela."