On Friday, the United States imposed sanctions on a biometrics company that helped vote in the parliamentary elections in Venezuela, which President Donald Trump’s administration said were rigged.
The ex-Cle CA, the Venezuelan subsidiary of a company of the same name in Argentina, has “millions of dollars in contracts” with the government of President Nicolas Maduro, which Washington and most Western and Latin American countries consider as illegitimate, US officials said.
In a who’s who of US opponents, the Treasury Department said Ex-Cle CA bought thousands of voting machines from China, airlifted them to Venezuela via Iran, and paid for through the financial system Russian.
Maduro’s use of Ex-Cle CA and Chinese company CEIEC “to rig the electoral process should leave no doubt that the December 6 legislative elections were fraudulent and do not reflect the will of the Venezuelan people” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
U.S. officials have not claimed to have cheated in the compilation of the votes, but a number of international observers said the polls were unfair with Maduro controlling a new electoral council.
The opposition boycotted the vote and lost control of the National Assembly, the only branch of government not under Maduro’s control.
The Venezuelan president criticized the US sanctions.
Pompeo imposed “stupid sanctions like the fool he is, as he is about to leave, against the company and the businessmen who made the machines so the Venezuelan people could vote” , Maduro said.
Ex-Cle also operated in Panama, winning a contract to implement a biometric security system, according to the company’s website.
The Treasury Department also imposed sanctions on two business executives, one Venezuelan and the other both an Argentine and Italian national, freezing all assets they hold in the United States.
Trump has alleged without any evidence that the US election he lost in was rigged, with his legal team sharing a debunked conspiracy theory of Venezuelan involvement.
© 2020 AFP