WH: Trump ‘Condemns’ Venezuelan President Arresting Opposition Leaders

By Theresa Smith | August 2, 2017 | 11:50am EDT
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Screenshot of C-SPAN video)

(CNSNews.com) - During the White House press briefing on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that President Trump “condemns” the arrest of Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma, two Venezuelan opposition leaders detained by the Venezuelan government under President Nicolás Maduro Moros.

Early Tuesday morning, Ledezma and Lopez were detained by the Venezuelan government, while they were under house arrest, according to BBC News.

Sanders was asked by a reporter Tuesday, “What is the president’s reaction to the two opposition leaders being jailed in Venezuela now after the sanctions yesterday?”

Sanders replied, “Overnight, the regime of the Venezuelan dictator Maduro detained two leading opposition figures following its outrageous seizure of power through sham elections this weekend. The vice president spoke with Mr. Lopez just last week, and he and Mr. Ledezma are political prisoners held unjustly by the Maduro regime.”  

“The United States condemns the actions of the Maduro dictatorship, and we hold Maduro personally responsible for the health and safety of both men and any other seized by his dictatorship,” she stated.

On Monday, the White House announced that President Trump had placed sanctions on Venezuela in response to the Venezuelan election on Sunday. According to Fox News, the U.S., along with the European Union and other countries have criticized the validity of the election.

During the White House press briefing on Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin commented on the sanctions, “Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC, has sanctioned the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros.”

“As a result of today’s sanctions, all assets of Maduro subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, and U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with him,” he added.

“As President Trump said earlier this month, the strong and courageous actions by the Venezuelan people to stand for democracy, freedom, and the rule of law have been continually ignored by Nicolás Maduro, who dreams of becoming a dictator,” continued Mnuchin. “Yesterday’s illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people.

“The National Constituent Assembly aspires, illegitimately, to usurp the constitutional role of democratically-elected National Assembly, rewrite the constitution, and impose an authoritarian regime on the people. As such, it represents a rupture in Venezuela’s constitutional and democratic order,” the Treasury secretary stated..

“By sanctioning Maduro, the United States makes clear our opposition to the policies of his regime and the support for the people of Venezuela, who strive to return their country to a full and prosperous democracy. As the country’s head of state, Maduro is directly responsible for Venezuela’s descent and for the destruction of democracy. Adding Maduro to OFAC’s list of specially-designated nationals reflects our commitment to not stand by idly as Venezuela continues to crumble under the regime’s abuses,” he continued.

“We hope that these sanctions will make all Maduro regime officials reconsider how their actions have affected their country,” said Mnuchin. “These actions highlight the high cost and personal recriminations enablers of this regime could face if they continue their reckless and undemocratic activities.

“Anyone who participates in this illegitimate ANC could be exposed to future U.S. sanctions for their role in undermining democratic process and institutions in Venezuela,” he stated.


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