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Treasury Department levies sanctions on eight people involved in Venezuela's 'Constituent Assembly'

dk_photos/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Treasury Department announced a new series of sanctions against several members of Venezuela's Constituent Assembly on Wednesday, including the brother of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The Treasury Department designated seven current or former officials of the Venezuelan government and one person who "participated in actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Venezuela."

The announcement comes as the assets of those eight individuals are frozen and Americans are prohibited from dealing with those individuals. It follows the swearing in of Venezuela's Constituent Assembly -- seen by many as a means for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to strengthen his own political position.

"President Maduro swore in this illegitimate Constituent Assembly to further entrench his dictatorship," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. "This regime's disregard for the will of the Venezuelan people is unacceptable, and the United States will stand with them in opposition to tyranny until Venezuela is restored to a peaceful and prosperous democracy."

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