US slaps sanctions on wife of Venezuelan president, other loyalists

US slaps sanctions on wife of Venezuelan president, other loyalists
The US Treasury has reported that it has issued fresh sanctions targeting the ‘inner circle’ of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

“President Maduro relies on his inner circle to maintain his grip on power, as his regime systematically plunders what remains of Venezuela’s wealth. We are continuing to designate loyalists who enable Maduro to solidify his hold on the military and the government while the Venezuelan people suffer,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Among the figures targeted by the US are First Lady of Venezuela Cilia Flores, who used to serve as attorney general under the late Hugo Chavez, and is now a legislator. Others include Vice President Delcy Eloina Rodriguez Gomez and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, the statement said.

Maduro has responded to the sanctions by stating that they are an honor coming from his foe Trump.

"Thank you Donald Trump," Maduro said during a broadcast on state television, as quoted by Reuters.

The US have also seized a Gulfstream 200 private jet in Florida, which it said belongs to businessman Rafael Sarria, whom it labeled a front man for Diosdado Cabello, the head of the Constituent National Assembly of Venezuela.

The US has been at odds with Venezuela’s socialist government for decades. While the country suffered from political instability and a decline in its economy over the past several years, Washington imposed several rounds of sanctions against it and serving officials. It also contacted a group of people, who plotted a coup against President Maduro, according to US media reports.

READ MORE: ‘US role in Venezuela over past 20 years a case of meddling after meddling’

Caracas blames its troubles on the US, saying that its sanctions and tradecraft as well as support of opposition forces in Venezuela are the primary cause of the suffering of Venezuelans.

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