In an update on Monday, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said it had added Maduro to its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list. This means that any US-based assets of his have been frozen, and American citizens are forbidden from conducting any business with him.
“The following individual has been added to OFAC’s SDN List: MADURO MOROS, Nicolas… President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” the update reads.
According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the White House considers the elections held in Venezuela to be illegitimate and holds Maduro responsible.
“Yesterday’s illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people,” Mnuchin said in a statement. “By sanctioning Maduro, the United States makes clear our opposition to the policies of his regime and our support for the people of Venezuela who seek to return their country to a full and prosperous democracy.”
Maduro promised to continue to protect his country, despite the newly announced sanctions. In a televised address to the nation, the president emphasized that he does not “take orders from the empire,”telling his American counterpart, “Keep up your sanctions, Donald Trump!”
“I am proud of the alleged sanctions… because I do not wag my tail like a lying dog,” Maduro said Monday after the election commission announced Sunday’s voter’s turnout. “I am punished for defending the natural resources of Venezuelan lands.”
“I am the independent president of a free nation,” he said, according to Globovision. “You’re with Trump or Venezuela, you’re with Trump or with democracy, you’re with Trump or the free world.”
Venezuela held National Constituent Assembly elections Sunday following months of street protests and clashes in which more than 100 people have died. Despite the violence and opposition boycott, over 8 million people participated in the democratic process by casting their votes for the 545 candidates who will be empowered to draft a new constitution.
Ahead of the vote, the US Treasury had already slapped sanctions on 13 senior Venezuelan officials for allegedly “undermining democracy”with the initiative.
The assembly will also have a mandate to deny the country’s lawmakers parliamentary immunity. Critics say the new government body will give the ruling Socialist Party unprecedented powers, despite president Nicolas Maduro’s pledge that the Assembly will become “place for dialogue.”
Maduro claimed victory in Sunday’s vote, but a number of countries, including the UK, the US and Argentina refused to recognize the election, the final results of which are yet to be announced.
Russia, however, praised the vote as laying the basis for a peaceful resolution of the contradictions plaguing Venezuelan society.
“We regret to note that opposition forces did not respond to the call to take part in the vote, but instead tried to hamper the elections, provoking clashes that have resulted in loss of life. We urge the opposing parties to stop the pointless violent confrontation,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Throughout the course of the unrest, which boiled over at the end of March after the Supreme Court ruled to take over the duties of the National Assembly, Venezuelan officials have blamed foreign powers for fueling the violence. Politicians also claimed that the scale of the protests is largely exaggerated in the media.
A week before the elections, Maduro accused the US of plotting “regime change” in Caracas after CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a comment about discussing “transition” in Venezuela with regional partners.
Fake Al Jazeera webpage claims Saudi Arabia paid Russian media for loyalty
A fake page appeared online spreading the “news” that 600 million rubles ($10 million) had been paid to journalists of RT, RIA Novosti and TASS news agencies. It said the claim emanated from Qatar’s ambassador to Russia, who had allegedly accused Saudi Arabia of bribing the Russian media outlets in return for them “not publishing any stories depicting the kingdom in a negative way.”
The page that was masked as being part of the Doha-based Al Jazeera news network, was “so convincing” that it drew responses from the Qatari diplomatic mission in Moscow and Al Jazeera’s management. The page was directly linked to the authentic Al Jazeera website, with a little dot featured in the fake domain being the important difference.
“The Qatari Embassy in Russia refutes the information that appeared on one of the Russian blogs on July 31, about ‘a statement’ allegedly made by the Qatari Ambassador to Russia, HE Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, and which was allegedly published on the website of Al Jazeera channel,” the embassy said in a statement.
“It is false and fabricated,” the embassy emphasized, adding that such fake news is aimed at harming Russian media outlets.
Al Jazeera said “it’s not the first time” that such cooked-up stories appear under their name.
“This one is a very convincing fake, which aims to create a conflict between Al Jazeera and the Russian media, as well as between the Russian media and Qatar in light of the Gulf crisis, which the media in Russia have been covering professionally and objectively,” Managing Director of Al Jazeera News, Yaser Abuhilala told RIA Novosti.
The recent fake, however, is so “convincing that it fools everyone and it takes a lot of attention to realize the page is fake,” he added.
Twitter briefly suspends Al Jazeera’s Arabic account amid Qatar rift https://on.rt.com/8eze
Twitter briefly suspends Al Jazeera’s Arabic account amid Qatar rift — RT Viral
Al Jazeera’s Arabic Twitter account was suspended as the result of what the Qatari news organization said was an “organized campaign.” The Gulf state has been in the midst of a diplomatic crisis…
Abuhilala said that Russia’s political stance in the current dispute has been “balanced” and has “helped Qatar obtain some justice” in the wake of the crisis. He also accused the UAE of hacking the Qatari news agency, QNA, and triggering the crisis in the Gulf, although we did not provide evidence to support his claim.
He said that Al Jazeera itself is often attacked by hackers, “who have not succeeded so far.”
The alleged hacking attack on QNA played a significant role in the Qatari crisis as some Gulf states as well as Egypt were outraged over the featured comments – which Qatar insists were fake. Doha has also been accused of funding terrorism and ended up being cut off from the Arabian Peninsula following the imposition of the Saudi-led blockade.