US Treasury slaps sanctions on 8 Venezuela court justices

Anti-government protesters stand around burning tires serving as a road barricade, in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have unleashed a witch hunt overseas, with groups of emigrants identifying government-linked Venezuelans on social media and targeting them with insults and booing.

With her arrival, residents say, also came bands of "colectivos" who threatened protesters. The protest in Caracas comes after a tumultuous 24 hours.

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - The Trump administration plans to impose new sanctions on Venezuelan officials for alleged human rights violations as it grows more concerned about the crackdown on anti-government protesters, a congressional aide and a US official said.

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

President Donald Trump labeled Venezuela's ongoing political and economic turmoil "a disgrace to humanity", as the Treasury Department slapped sanctions on members of the crisis-torn country's Supreme Court.

The protests have left more than 40 dead and around 600 injured.

Hundreds of tho us ands of people have taken to the streets across Venezuela in protest against the Maduro's government, demanding elections, freedom for jailed activists, foreign aid and autonomy for the opposition-led legislature.

Venezuela said it was sending 2,000 soldiers on Wednesday to a border state that is a hotspot of anti-government radicalism after looting that killed a 15-year-old in the latest unrest roiling the nation.

"In the recent past they had discussions about the two countries and the president [gave] the reasons why things are happening in Venezuela and the Honourable Freundel Stuart heard what he was saying", Perez said. How is that possible? Among them were a number of cases in which members of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) beat the prisoners severely using aluminum bats and individuals who said they had their hair cut off. "There's great violence", Trump told a press conference with visiting Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. One was the approval of Maduro's budget and his appointment of two government sympathizers to the National Electoral Council, decisions that are supposed to require National Assembly approval. Three years ago, three months of anti-government demonstrations resulted in 43 people killed. But the bloodshed also raises the question of how much longer the opposition can call on its supporters to take the risk of going into the streets, said Christopher Sabatini, a professor at Columbia University.

Venezuela's Supreme Court has always been filled with government loyalists.

The officials say the list of blacklisted officials is likely to include members of Venezuela's Supreme Court, which issued a controversial late March ruling stripping congress of its last powers.

The new sanctions come as Maduro is facing increasing pressure at home and overseas to hold elections. Local media said he was a medical student belonging to the so-called "Green Cross", a group of volunteer first-responders that is a fixture at opposition marches.

  • Zachary Reyes