Maduro Lashes Out against US Sanctions as Venezuela's Protests See More Deaths

Bulgaria Nicolas Maduro Declared that the American Sanctions are Illegal

The Trump administration is imposing sanctions on 13 senior officials of Venezuela's government, military and state oil company PDVSA on Wednesday, U.S. officials said, seeking to ratchet up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to scrap plans for a controversial new congress.

Protests during the stoppage have left three people dead - two men, aged 30 and 23, in the western province of Merida, and a 14-year-old boy in an eastern Caracas slum, according to prosecutors.

70% of Venezuelans are said to be opposed to Maduro's plans for election a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution.

Protesters and government forces faced off late into the night Wednesday, with rounds of tear gas, rubber bullets and homemade bombs arcing through the air.

In the capital, Caracas buses are not running and blockades have made it impossible for cars to move inside most of the city barricades made from garbage, tree branches and furniture. "We are going to make a wonderful act of reaffirmation of peace with the Constituent Assembly, preparing for peace". The crisis will worsen. These are the security agencies whose troops have pretty much every day been doing battle with Venezuelans on the streets of the country as they go out and protest against Maduro. The existing Supreme Court has consistently backed Maduro and shot down all measures by the opposition-led National Assembly.

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The latest deaths raised to 106 the number of people killed since April 1.

The worldwide community has broadly condemned the vote, and the United States on Wednesday announced sanctions against 13 current and former officials for corruption, undermining democracy, and participating in repression.

Maduro called the United States punishment "illegal, insolent and unprecedented". The most serious option is financial sanctions that would halt dollar payments for the country's oil and starve the government of hard currency, or a total ban on oil imports to the United States, a top cash-paying client.

Mogherini says the European Union "encourages and stands ready to support in every way possible the creation of a regional 'group of friends, ' accepted by the government and the opposition, to help the endeavors of political actors in Venezuela to find a peaceful, democratic and inclusive solution to the crisis in the country".

But in his country, where there are widespread shortages of basic goods and soaring inflation, protesters are showing their discontent with Maduro's leadership.

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Maduro has repeatedly blamed the crisis on the United States, saying Washington has incited the opposition.

Opposition demonstrators burn a tire during an anti-government protest in Caracas, July 26, 2017.

Thousands of Venezuelans have also crossed the border into neighboring Colombia in the run-up to the Sunday vote, during which more violence is expected.

"We don't recognize any sanction", he said.

The sanctions come ahead of the planned July 30 election of the ANC that the U.S. Treasury Department says "will have the power to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution and may choose to dissolve Venezuelan state institutions".

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Days before a critical vote engineered by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro - one that would all but turn him into an unmovable dictator - the Trump administration fired a warning shot across his bow, with a solid assist from Florida Sen.

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