A demonstrator walks past a roadblock at a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas

New U.S. penalties against 8 more people over Venezuela crisis

WASHINGTON — The United States is imposing sanctions on eight more individuals, including the brother of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, for undermining democracy in the South American country.

The Treasury Department says seven are current or former Venezuelan government officials. The U.S. accuses them of supporting the creation of a constituent assembly that’s charged with rewriting Venezuela’s constitution and has declared itself superior to all other government institutions.

Chavez’s brother Adan — among those targeted — has been appointed secretary of the new assembly.

The U.S. has called the vote to create the assembly illegitimate and a sign that President Nicolas Maduro is trying to strengthen what the U.S. calls his “dictatorship.”

The U.S. previously targeted Maduro with sanctions, in a rare action against a foreign head of state.