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Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro paraded the seven officials sanctioned by the U.S. government on national television on Monday, hailing them as “heroes” and appointing one of them as the new interior minister.

“I congratulate them,” Maduro said in a live TV address, flanked by his Cabinet and the seven officials. “It’s an honor” to be on the U.S. sanctions list, he said.

The president named national intelligence head Gustavo Gonzalez, whom Washington accuses of complicity in violence against anti-government protesters, as new interior minister. It was not immediately clear if Gonzalez would occupy both posts.

Reuters

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