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Venezuela: New US sanctions meant to sabotage elections

Venezuela has slammed the United States for imposing new sanctions on the country, which Caracas says are meant to “sabotage” the presidential election due on Sunday.

On Friday, the US Treasury slapped sanctions against the head of the Venezuelan socialist party, Diosdado Cabello, and his wife, Marleny Josefina Contreras, who heads the country’s tourism institute, and his brother, Jose David.

On Saturday, Caracas described the new sanctions as part of “a systematic campaign of aggression” by the administration of President Donald Trump, insisting that the US move had no legal basis.

“It’s not surprising that on the eve of a new vote, when the Venezuelan people will come out to defend their democracy against the imperialist aggressions that try and derail it, once again the US regime tries to sabotage the elections,” the government said in a statement.

Analysts predict Maduro to win the Sunday election against main opposition candidate Henri Falcon.

Some opposition members have boycotted the vote, claiming it is rigged to ensure that Maduro wins a second six-year term in office. The hard-line opposition party Popular Will announced its decision to boycott the election, which it described as an “electoral sham,” on Saturday.

Caracas has assured the public that the election will be free and fair, saying those opposition members who refuse to participate in the election believe they have no chance to win. The government has also invited international observers to monitor the vote.

Venezuela has been beset by political disagreements and an economic crisis in recent month. The Maduro government often claims that the acute economic crisis is a result of the sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the US.

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