US vows further action against Venezuela's 'bad actors' barring changes

Vincent Carr
May 19, 2017

The Trump administration is imposing sanctions on members of Venezuela's Supreme Court following a series of rulings that the USA says has usurped power from the nation's opposition-controlled congress and sparked a deadly wave of unrest.

"By imposing these targeted sanctions, the United States is supporting the Venezuelan people in their efforts to protect and advance democratic governance in their country", he said.

Opposition supporters hold candles while participating in a candlelight rally against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 17, 2017.

The eight named for sanctions include the president of the Supreme Court, Maikel Moreno, and the seven principal members of the court's Constitutional Chamber. In February, the target was Vice President Tareck El Aissami, whom USA officials accuse of being involved in worldwide drug trafficking.

NEW YORK (Press Release) - The American Jewish Committee (AJC) strongly criticized Venezuela President Maduro for using Nazi imagery to defend his regime against a growing wave of protesters.

"You sort of have to wonder: Why is that happening? What they want to do here is avoid us going to the United Nations", Capriles said, before returning to the capital to join a protest march.

Another sanctioned magistrate, Calixto Ortega, is a long-time diplomat who was sent by Maduro in 2014 to Aruba to negotiate the release of a retired army general who had been arrested by the Netherlands, which runs the Caribbean island's foreign affairs, on a US drug warrant.

The Treasury Department has in the past sanctioned Venezuelan officials or former officials, charging them with trafficking or corruption. It said the National Assembly was in contempt.

There was no immediate reaction from the Maduro government, but in the past it has disputed that the country's justice system is politicized.

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He was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated in 2008 and 2015, police commissioner James O'Neill said. A witness told ABC station WABC that the driver got out of the auto after the crash and ran across the street.

There was an worldwide outcry against the court's de facto annulment of the National Assembly, which the opposition won in late 2015 during an unprecedented economic and social crisis.

Trump's comments came one day after the Venezuelan government announced it was sending more than 2,500 troops to a trouble-hit region on the border with Colombia to try to quell weeks of violence that have claimed 44 lives nationwide.

The new sanctions come as Maduro is facing increasing worldwide pressure to hold elections.

In the western city of Maracaibo, a 25-year-old was killed when he was crushed by a truck during a protest, the chief prosecutor's office said.

During a press conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in Washington, D.C., Trump said that the USA was working with Colombia and other allies to do what is necessary to resolve the situation in Venezuela.

The United States convened a meeting of the UN Security Council on Venezuela on Wednesday.

Maduro has vowed to resolve his nation's crisis by convoking a special assembly to rewrite Venezuela's constitution.

Venezuela has been rocked by protests as people take to the streets to protest the Maduro regime's power grab.

They added that the administration expects to take further actions in Venezuela, but declined to offer any details.

Other reports by BadHub

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