United States sanctions Venezuelan president, calls him a 'dictator'

Global Oil Prices Hit Two-Month Highs as US Threatens Sanctions on Venezuela After 'Sham' Election

McMaster described the election, which creates a constituent assembly that will rewrite Venezuela's constitution, as an "outrageous seizure of absolute power" that "represents a very serious blow to democracy in our hemisphere".

"Anyone who participates in this illegitimate (constituent assembly) could be exposed to future USA sanctions for their role in undermining democratic processes and institutions in Venezuela", Mnuchin said.

Tasked with writing a new constitution, it has far-reaching powers―including the right to dissolve the National Assembly and change laws.

"This is the end of freedom of expression, and this freedom has been battered for some time now", said Attorney General Luisa Ortega.

Meanwhile, Venezuela's latest violence and political turmoil will probably deepen its economic and humanitarian crisis.

Spain's El Mundo newspaper reported on Tuesday that family members say Venezuelan opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma were taken from their homes in the early hours of the morning. "We don't know where he is or where they're taking him".

External pressure is growing, but of mixed effectiveness.

For Trump, Venezuela is a test of how tough he wants to get on the world stage against anti-American dictators - and how much he is willing to let US companies, and consumers, take a hit to send a message. He was transferred to home detention while awaiting trial and his supporters were hopeful that this was a sign of Maduro softening his stance toward his political opponents.

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The friend became suspicious, discovered the remains and called authorities. "She was the new girlfriend", Lantz told Buzzfeed. Police have arrested two people after a body was found stuffed in a freezer at a home near Youngstown in northeastern Ohio.

Many governments which have refused to recognize the new constituent assembly have stopped short of calling Maduro's government illegitimate.

"The government continues to assuming a hard line against the opposition and against the protests", he said. "That became a rallying cry for the government ever since", he said.

Following an election Sunday spearheaded by President Nicolás Maduro that will give his administration broad powers to redraft the constitution, The Wall Street Journal reported that USA government officials were considering stepping up sanctions against Venezuela that could target its oil industry by making it more hard for Venezuela to import refined products from the US, which it uses to dilute its extra heavy oil to make it suitable for export.

“They have just taken Lopez from the house. "We make the regime responsible for his life and integrity!" Also, many people were expecting more strong response from the opposition today. "Bring on more sanctions, Donald Trump". This is now being discussed, but the pain would be felt across borders. The result would mean the ruling party won more support than it had in any national election since 2013, despite a cratering economy, spiraling inflation, shortages of medicine and malnutrition.

One option for the U.S.is to cut off crude oil imports from Venezuela, but such a move may cause economic harm as pump prices would likely spike.

Venezuela's benchmark sovereign bond maturing 2038 fell nearly 1 cent in early trading but snapped back to trade at around 40 cents on the dollar.

Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and John McCain of Arizona were urging Trump to hit Venezuela hard after Sunday's vote.

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