The United States has imposed what Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called "stupid sanctions" on a Venezuelan company that assisted the country’s parliamentary elections.
Ex-Cle C.A., the Venezuelan subsidiary of a company by a similar name in Argentina, has "millions of dollars of contracts" with the government of Maduro, US officials said on Friday.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the company bought Chinese voting machines that were used in manipulating electoral process.
Maduro's reliance on Ex-Cle C.A. and Chinese company CEIEC "to rig the electoral processes should leave no doubt that the December 6 legislative elections were fraudulent and do not reflect the will of the Venezuelan people," Pompeo said.
President Maduro denounced Pompeo’s remarks as disgraceful.
Pompeo imposed "stupid sanctions like the idiot that he is, as he is on his way out, against the company and the businessmen who manufactured the machines so that the people of Venezuela could vote," Maduro said.
An alliance close to Maduro won a major score during the general vote, which Washington claims to have been rigged.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has waged a campaign of sanctions and diplomatic measures in a bid to oust Maduro.
The Trump administration has even repeatedly threatened to use military force to topple Maduro’s government.
Maduro revealed last week that there was an attempt on his life on the day of the parliamentary elections, which his ruling socialist party won by a landslide. The elections were held on December 6.
The Venezuelan president implicated the leader of neighboring Colombia in the plot, accusing President Ivan Duque of playing “a role in the plans to organize my assassination.”
The Venezuelan leader has on multiple occasions held to task Colombia and its ally, the United States, for having plotted to eliminate him and his senior military officials since a long time ago.
Earlier this year, he was alerted to “a decision in the north and in Colombia by the oligarchy to assassinate" him.
He said both countries were governed by extremists, recalling how Washington had orchestrated a coup to topple his government last year.
Advisers close to US President-elect Joe Biden have said the new administration would try to negotiate with Caracas without any pre-conditions to end the crisis there.