CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — President Nicolas Maduro brushed off new U.S. sanctions on him and condemnation at home and abroad of the newly chosen constitutional assembly, saying the vote has given him a popular mandate to radically overall Venezuela’s political system.
Maduro said Monday evening he had no intention of deviating from his plans to rewrite the constitution and go after a string of enemies, from independent Venezuelan news channels to gunmen he claimed were sent by neighboring Colombia to disrupt the vote as part of an international conspiracy led by the man he calls “Emperor Donald Trump.”
“They don’t intimidate me. The threats and sanctions of the empire don’t intimidate me for a moment,” Maduro said on national television. “I don’t listen to orders from the empire, not now or ever … Bring on more sanctions, Donald Trump.”
A few hours earlier, Washington added Maduro to a steadily growing list of high-ranking Venezuelan officials targeted by financial sanctions, escalating a tactic that has so far failed to alter his socialist government’s behavior. For now, the Trump administration did not deliver on threats to sanction Venezuela’s oil industry, which could undermine Maduro’s government but raise U.S. gas prices and deepen the humanitarian crisis here. …