U.S. blacklists Venezuela's first lady, officials in latest sanctions

U.S. slaps sanctions on top Venezuelan officials, including President Maduro’s wife

U.S. slaps sanctions on top Venezuelan officials, including President Maduro’s wife

The U.S. on Tuesday imposed sanctions on a number of people in Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's inner circle, including his wife and the South American country's new vice president.

Trump spoke while attending the UN General Assembly after meeting with Colombia President Ivan Duque (DOO-kay).

The sanctions would freeze any assets that a blacklisted person holds under US jurisdiction and ban any USA individuals or companies from making business transactions with them.

It appeared unlikely, however, that Maduro would cross paths with Trump, despite the USA president's comments earlier in the day that he was willing to meet with his Venezuelan counterpart if it would help ease suffering in the South American nation.

Venezuela's ousted chief prosecutor, Luisa Ortega, meanwhile, called on the United States to take advantage of Maduro's visit to arrest him on charges of organized crime, corruption and genocide. "This has been economic trade persecution of Venezuela", Maduro said on Wednesday. "We're going to take care of Venezuela", he said, calling Venezuela's situation a "disgrace".

Tuesday, the Trump administration placed sanctions on members of Maduro's Cabinet, including his wife, Cilia Flores, while Trump suggested Maduro's regime could easily be toppled by a military coup.

Over the past two years the Trump administration has sanctioned dozens of individuals, including Maduro himself, on allegations of corruption, drug trafficking and human rights abuses. "And you know what I mean by strong".

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Trudeau steered clear of direct criticism of Trump and said Canada and the USA share concern about the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. "More than 2 million people have fled the anguish inflicted by the socialist Maduro regime and its Cuban sponsors", Trump said.

Human Rights Watch was among those hailing the request, which was based on two reports: one by the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights that uncovered widespread extrajudicial executions and other violations, and another by an expert group designated by the Organization of American States that found reason to suspect 11 people, including Maduro, of crimes against humanity.

Trump added to the pressure Wednesday from the United Nations meetings in NY, where he appeared to allude to a USA military intervention of the sort he had previously reportedly broached with advisors. He stands accused of authoritarianism over his crackdowns on protests and attempts to shut off opposition paths to power.

For over a year, top USA officials have struggled to build support for more sweeping oil sanctions, facing resistance from energy companies still active in the country and fearing it could tip the OPEC nation over the edge at a time of hyperinflation and widespread food and medicine shortages.

But top Venezuelan officials were oddly silent Wednesday as speculation circulated on social media that the presidential plane had set out for NY.

He said his foes want to seize Venezuela's riches, which include the world's largest oil reserves and vast gold deposits. With hyperinflation in his nation spiraling toward 1 million percent and chronic shortages of food and medicines, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing the nation, overwhelming neighboring nations.

Trump's remarks likely don't indicate a military intervention anytime soon, Farnsworth said.

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