US plans new package of Venezuela sanctions soon

The threat of new sanctions comes as Venezuela's socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, is facing increasing global pressure to hold elections.

President Nicolas Maduro blames the opposition for the country's crisis and the deaths, which have occurred on all sides.

In Caracas, protesters sought to march to the Interior and Justice Ministry but were blocked on a major highway by security forces firing tear gas and using armored vehicles.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Treasury also imposed new sanctions against Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, after accusing him of being involved in drug trafficking.

Venezuela is still hoping that Barbados will support of the embattled Nicolas Maduro administration in an ongoing fight with the Organization of American States (OAS), despite a vote last month by Bridgetown against the South American nation. That designation means that as of Thursday, the eight magistrates' assets in the U.S are frozen and people in the US are prohibited from doing business or transacting with them.

The Trump administration has threatened further measures against Caracas, but sanctions so far have stopped short of hitting the oil sector in Venezuela, which is a major United States oil supplier.

Perez Wednesday said Maduro had been given assurances by Stuart that "he will never act against the Venezuelan people".

"We're starting to see serious instability in Venezuela", US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told reporters after the closed-door Security Council meeting, which was requested by the US.

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

"More will come until they change their ways", he said.

He declined to provide specifics on a conference call with journalists about new sanctions announced on Venezuelans.

Protests at the homes and businesses of officials or ex-officials with links to Chavismo - the left-wing ideology created by Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chavez - are broadcast on social media via accounts dedicated to promoting the harassment of those individuals living overseas. It said the National Assembly was in contempt.

The opposition is demanding that Maduro's government hold delayed elections for state governors and improve the country's chaotic economy.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned on Wednesday that if the situation was left to escalate it could lead to a major global crisis like in Syria.

In March, the court stripped parliamentary immunity from members of the National Assembly and moved to assume legislative powers for itself. Maduro's opposition was planning a larger Saturday protest nationwide to demand elections. Public transportation was shut down, the state's agricultural industry — a critical provider of Venezuela's fruits and vegetables — paralyzed and people worriedly lined up at ATMs to withdraw cash.

  • Zachary Reyes