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U.S. sanctions target 8 accused of undermining Venezuelan democracy, including Hugo Chavez's brother

U.S. sanctions target 8 accused of undermining Venezuelan democracy, including Hugo Chavez's brother
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, left, visits with former Cuban President Fidel Castro, center, and Castro's brother Raul, Cuba's current president, in Havana in 2008. Chavez died in 2013, Fidel Castro in 2016. (AFP/Getty Images)

The United States is imposing sanctions on eight more individuals, including the brother of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whom it accuses of undermining democracy in the South American country.

The Treasury Department said seven are current or former Venezuelan government officials. The U.S. says they supported the creation of a constituent assembly that is charged with rewriting Venezuela's constitution and has declared itself superior to all other government institutions.

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Chavez's brother Adan — among those targeted — has been appointed secretary of the new assembly.

The U.S. has called the vote to create the assembly illegitimate and a sign that President Nicolas Maduro is trying to strengthen what the U.S. calls his "dictatorship."

The U.S. previously targeted Maduro himself with sanctions, in a rare action against a foreign head of state.

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