Venezuela Bonds Fall After US Announces Sanctions

Venezuela Agents Arrest Opposition Leaders In Midnight Raids

Venezuela remains under political unrest in the aftermath of a widely disputed election for a new Constituent Assembly that will replace the democratically elected members of the country's opposition-dominated legislature.

Lopez, 46, and Ledezma, 62, both former mayors in the capital Caracas, were seized from their homes overnight on Tuesday, according to their relatives and supporters.

While other countries have held back, the Trump administration has shown no hesitation in referring to Maduro as a "dictator", and on Monday the U.S. unveiled sanctions targeting Maduro, putting him in the same category as North Korea's Kim Jong-un, Syria's Bashar al-Assad and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe. It would also establish an electoral process that could keep Maduro in power with just 20 percent of the vote-roughly equal to the president's current approval rating-sparing him the need to rig the outcome of next year's anticipated elections.

However, old allies Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Russian Federation stood by Maduro, who shrugged off mass protests and a previous round of United States sanctions on some of his officials to see through the election.

The opposition has been staging street protests for the past four months demanding Maduro's resignation for presiding over the worst economic crisis in decades. The two get mixed together in Venezuela and shipped back to the United States.

Juan Carlos Gutierrez, the attorney of Lopez, said the government's decision to return him to prison was "completely arbitrary" and there was no arrest warrant.

Trump is no fan of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

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Who are Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma?

Zeid Raad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement on Tuesday that he was "deeply concerned" at the arrest of the opposition figures.

Maduro has urged the assembly to immediately declare her office in a state of emergency and restructure it. On Sunday, police motorcycle brigades fired tear gas, and video surfaced showing law enforcement beating up an unarmed man.

The measures were unusual in that they targeted a sitting head of state, but their reach was mostly symbolic, freezing any USA assets Maduro might have and banning people under U.S. jurisdiction from dealing with him.

"Maduro is responsible if anything happens to him", the wife of Mr Lopez, Lilian Tintori, said, adding that the government would not make her husband "bow down". He said Lopez was taken to the Ramo Verde prison where he'd previously been detained.

Venezuelans have been protesting across the country since late March when the Maduro-controlled supreme court issued a ruling removing legislative powers from the opposition-majority National Assembly and transferring them to Maduro's discretion. The assembly and the new charter they will draft are opposed by a majority of Venezuelans and have been condemned by the US and other nations as a prelude to a dictatorship.

One of the top leaders in Maduro's administration, Diosdado Cabello, said the Constituent Assembly would take power in 72 hours, and that it would establish a "truth commission" to prosecute political opponents. On Wednesday, July 26, 13 people were punished for their role in calling the election and violently suppress protests countrywide.

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