An anti-government activist demonstrates against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at a barricade set up on a road in Caracas on August 8, 2017.
/ AFP / Ronaldo SCHEMIDT
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The United States Wednesday slapped economic sanctions on eight Venezuelan politicians linked to the creation of a controversial new assembly loyal to President Nicolas Maduro, including a brother of former President Hugo Chavez.The fresh sanctions came on a day of political tensions in crisis-wracked Venezuela as the opposition-controlled legislature convened, after the Constituent Assembly created a "truth commission" seen as targeting lawmakers.The establishment of the commission, which Maduro wants to examine alleged crimes committed by opposition leaders, was the latest in a series of moves by the new Constituent Assembly and the Supreme Court to crack down on challenges to Maduro's rule.A powerful member of the Constituent Assembly and close Maduro ally, Diosdado Cabello, said parliamentary immunity could be lifted "for everyone" in the legislature to open the way to prosecution.Wednesday, a Venezuelan mayor-turned-fugitive called for anti-government protesters to keep defying Maduro."I think what we need is regional dialogue ... in which Venezuela would be respected".The leader reaffirmed that the difficulties he was facing domestically and internationally were driven by an "imperialist" United States that wanted Venezuela's oil.
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