Canada to impose sanctions on more Venezuelan officials

FILE PHOTO - Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland addresses the media during a meeting of the Lima Group, formed last year to put pressure on Venezuela and whose member countries are monitoring the upcoming Venezuelan presidential elections, in Mexico City, Mexico May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will impose targeted sanctions on 14 Venezuelan officials, adding to its previous moves to put pressure on President Nicolas Maduro's government, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday. The sanctions were in response to Venezuela's "illegitimate and anti-democratic presidential elections," it said in a statement. Earlier this month, Maduro won a new six-year term in an election that was denounced by a string of countries as unfair, triggering fresh sanctions from the United States. The new Canadian sanctions include freezing the assets of the officials and prohibiting Canadians from having property or financial dealings with them. "These sanctions send a clear message that the Maduro regime's anti-democratic behavior has consequences," Canada Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said. Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry said Ottawa was bowing to pressure from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to avoid losing “benefits” in its trade deals with the United States. "It is crystal clear that Canada’s obsessive behavior against Venezuela is a result of the humiliating subordination of its foreign policy to the racist and supremacist administration of Donald Trump,” the Foreign Ministry said in its statement. Last September, Canada imposed sanctions against 40 Venezuelan senior officials, including Maduro. Critics say Maduro has plunged the nation into its worst-ever economic crisis. Canada is a member of the 12-nation Lima Group, which is trying to address the crisis. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Lisa Shumaker)