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The Trump administration just got a little tougher on Venezuela's increasingly authoritarian regime.

At the end of July, Maduro claimed victory in the vote for a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the country's constitution - a vote which was boycotted by the opposition, amid ongoing violent antigovernment protests, and which was tampered with by the regime, according to the firm providing the voting machines. Marco Rubio said in a statement.

The U.S.is also reportedly considering additional sanctions on Venezuelan individuals close to the Maduro government, after Washington froze assets of Maduro and 13 senior government officials last month in response to the Constituent Assembly vote.

More than 125 people have died in unrest since the opposition began a sustained wave of protests in April, demanding an early presidential election that it says Maduro would surely lose.

"President Maduro swore in this illegitimate constituent assembly to further entrench his dictatorship", U.S. treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

President Nicolas Maduro has threatened to use a new and all-powerful constitutional assembly to arrest Guevara. No mortgage was recorded with the purchase. "Venezuela can't be sanctioned for anything, nor by anybody". "We will continue to monitor all our options". The decree giving the body its powers was unanimously approved, said the ruling socialist party's leader, Delcy Rodriguez.

White House officials agree, "all options are on the table", when it comes to penalizing Manduro's government plans.

Opposition members refused to participate in the election for delegates to the constitutional assembly but have thus far been divided on taking part in the contests for governors. "Here is Venezuela, which will never give in". More than a dozen Latin American leaders were gathering in Peru to discuss how to force Maduro to back down.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is closely following recent developments in Venezuela, his Spokesperson told reporters. "It's very important that some very significant countries in the region have taken the lead".

The latest US sanctions stopped short of a more significant penalty that has been under consideration: banning imports of Venezuelan oil, which accounts for 95 percent of the country's foreign-currency earnings.

"We are a testament to the fight for democracy", he said at a meeting cobbled together amid mounting uncertainty about the legislature's future.

The dire economic situation also has stirred deep bitterness as people struggle with skyrocketing inflation and shortages of food and medicine. He said Venezuela's only way out was to return to democracy by dissolving the constituent assembly, freeing all political prisoners and holding a new presidential election. Opposition lawmakers have vowed to hold onto their only government foothold, the country's single-chamber congress despite threats from the constitutional assembly to strip them of any authority and lock up key leaders.

The government said the removal was necessary because Ortega herself is under investigation for fanning political violence. No Latin America country will recognize any decisions by the new assembly, nor will the U.S., Canada or the European Union.


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