[JURIST] The US Department of the Treasury [official website] imposed sanctions [press release] against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Monday. The sanctions will freeze all of Maduro’s assets that are subject to US jurisdiction and will prohibit any US citizens from doing business with him. As a de facto result of being sanctioned, Maduro will also be barred from accessing US financial and commercial systems. The sanctions came one day after Venezuela’s controversial election [JURIST report] for a new assembly that would have the power to rewrite the country’s constitution.
Venezuela has faced significant political unrest since the opposition gained control of the National Assembly in December 2015. Last week Venezuela’s opposition party made a call [JURIST report] for a 48-hour general strike in response to the scheduled election. A non-binding referendum vote [JURIST report] was held in Venezuela earlier this month in regards to the proposed new constitution which showed that 98 percent of the voters rejected the new constitution. The vote was boycotted by many government supporters. In May the US Department of the Treasury announced sanctions [JURIST report] against Venezuelan Supreme Court justices for usurping democracy. In October the National Assembly voted to open criminal impeachment proceedings against Maduro, alleging that he manipulated the constitution to remain in power. That same month the Assembly also declared [JURIST report] that there was a breakdown of constitutional order and that the government had staged a coup by blocking an attempt to remove Maduro from power. Instability peaked on March 30 when the Supreme Court of Venezuela dissolved [JURIST report] the opposition-controlled National Assembly and assumed all legislative powers.