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The Latest: US wants Venezuela punished by 35-nation group

Samuel Moncada
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. imposing sanctions on Venezuelans (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

The United States has asked the countries of the Western Hemisphere to suspend Venezuela from the 35-nation Organization of American States.

Vice President Mike Pence also urged member states to cut off Venezuelan leaders from their financial systems and to enact visa restrictions.

Pence asked Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to suspend the May 20 presidential election, which he called “no more than fraud and sham.” Pence also urged Maduro to “open Venezuela to international aid, and do it now.”

Venezuela’s deputy foreign relations minister for North America called Pence’s remarks a “farce” and a “monstrosity.” The official, Samuel Moncada, also said there is “no possibility” that the May 20 election does not take place. He also says the country is “counting the days” until it can leave the Organization of American States.

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1 p.m.

The Trump administration is designating a former official of the Venezuelan intelligence service, two of his aides and 20 companies as narcotics traffickers.

Vice President Mike Pence is announcing the sanctions on Pedro Luis Martin Olivares during a speech Monday at the Organization of American States.

Those sanctioned Monday are in addition to the dozens of current and former Venezuelan officials the U.S. already has targeted.

They include Vice President Tareck El Aissami for alleged involvement in international drug trafficking. The U.S. also has imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela at a time when it’s seeking to refinance a huge international debt.

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