The Trump administration announced sanctions against eight members of Venezuela’s Supreme Court, singling out judges loyal to President Nicolás Maduro who tried to dissolve the country’s legislature this year.
The announcement, published Thursday by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, froze any assets in the United States belonging to seven judges of the court’s Constitutional Chamber as well as the court’s chief magistrate, Maikel Moreno, and barred Americans from doing business with them.
American government officials, in a call with reporters on Thursday, said the measures were intended to pressure the court to stop its efforts to obstruct the National Assembly, the legislature controlled by Mr. Maduro’s opposition. The court has nullified almost every major measure passed by lawmakers since the president’s rivals took control of the body last year, including efforts to free political prisoners.
“The Venezuelan people are suffering from a collapsing economy brought about by their government’s mismanagement and corruption,” the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said in a statement. “Members of the country’s Supreme Court of Justice have exacerbated the situation by consistently interfering with the legislative branch’s authority.”
There was no immediate response from Venezuelan officials.
For six weeks, the country has experienced turmoil on the streets, after a decision by the court to essentially disband the National Assembly and take powers for itself….