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Canada slaps sanctions on senior Venezuelan politicians

Canada has imposed sanctions against members of the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. While largely symbolic, the move adds weight to a similar US decision last month, as Maduro's ailing experiment limps on.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Friday the targeted sanctions were aimed at 40 officials and individuals - including Maduro, Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, Defense Minister General Vladimir Padrino Lopez and socialist party leader Diosdado Cabello.

The actions were "in response to the government of Venezuela's deepening descent into dictatorship," she said.

Over 120 people have been killed in four months of protests against Maduro's plans to rewrite Venezuela's constitution, a process being overseen by Rodriguez.

The sanctions freeze all assets the 40 individuals may have in Canada and ban Canadians from engaging them in business dealings.

"Canada will not stand by silently as the Government of Venezuela robs its people of their fundamental democratic rights," Freeland said in a statement. "Canada stands in solidarity with the people of Venezuela as they struggle to restore democracy in their country."

A Canadian official told the Associated Press that the move was intended "to do high visibility leaders in the first round."

Maduro has said he faces an armed insurrection aimed at ending socialism in Latin America and has called on the Pope, among others, to help defend it.

Canada is a member of the 12-nation Lima Group, which is addressing the Venezuelan crisis. A government official said Freeland wanted to host a meeting of the group within the next 60 days.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing financial sanctions on Venezuela's government in August.

Earlier this month, Spain said it wanted the EU to adopt measures against members of the Venezuelan government.

Watch video 03:26

What is life like in Venezuela for journalists?

jbh/kl (AP, Reuters)

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