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CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's government criticized Canada's Friday announcement of targeted sanctions against 40 of its senior officials, accusing Ottawa of "submission" to U.S. President Donald Trump in a bid to overthrow the South American country's leftist administration.

Canada’s move, which followed a similar decision by the United States, came after months of protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s government. At least 125 people were killed in the demonstrations.

Critics say Maduro has plunged the nation into its worst economic crisis ever and brought it to the brink of dictatorship. Maduro says he was facing a U.S.-backed "armed insurrection" seeking to foment a coup.

Canada's measures include freezing the assets of the officials and banning Canadians from having any dealings with them.

Caracas late on Friday night decried the sanctions as a sign of external meddling and an attempt to churn up turmoil in Venezuela.

"Canada's government established ... an immoral association of subordination with the government of President Donald Trump with the clear aim of overthrowing Venezuela's constitutional government using economic sanctions as political weapons," the government said in a statement.

Last month, Trump signed an executive order that prohibits dealings in new debt from the Venezuelan government or its state oil company in an effort to halt financing that the White House said fuels Maduro’s “dictatorship.”

The Trump administration also sanctioned Maduro in July.

(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago, Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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Reuters