New sanctions on Venezuela officials upcoming

Opposition supporters temporarily block trucks during a blockade in an avenue while rallying against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 15, 2017.

Exiled Venezuelans continue to share videos showing Venezuelan National Guard soldiers and Bolivarian National Police officers who are meeting protesters with violence.

Alfredo Romero, the head of the Venezuelan Penal Forum, told Radio Caracas Radio (RCR) that his group estimates that over 1,500 political prisoners are now behind bars in Venezuela. The protest in Caracas come.

A water canon sprays government protesters trying to reach the Interior Ministry, in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles said Thursday authorities confiscated his passport and prevented him from traveling to NY to discuss his country's deadly political crisis with United Nations officials.

The new sanctions package was aimed at stepping up pressure on supporters of the leftist government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro amid growing United States concern over a crackdown on mass street protests.

Among those hit with sanctions was Maikel Moreno, a Maduro ally who became president of the 32-judge court in February.

Fifteen-year-old Jose Guerrero's death in San Cristobal on Wednesday means the death toll from almost two months of protests and street clashes is likely to surpass that seen in the country's last political upheaval in 2014.

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump called the situation in Venezuela a "disgrace to humanity", and said the deadly political crisis is possibly the worst of its kind in "decades".

She said the sanctions are proof of "the United States authority and leadership in the destabilization of Venezuela".

"When you look at the oil reserves that they have, when you look at the potential wealth that Venezuela has, you sort of have to wonder, why is that happening?" How is that possible? But they said the ultimate goal is to bring about a positive change in behavior and encourage these individuals to "change their ways and contribute to Venezuelan society". "There's great violence", Trump told a press conference with visiting Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. It said the National Assembly was in contempt. Another was a ruling a year ago declaring null all acts of the National Assembly issued while it remains in contempt of an earlier ruling requiring the congress to unseat three elected lawmakers over still-unproven allegations of voting fraud.

Venezuela saw frequent anti-government protests launched in April by the right-wing opposition coalition known by its Spanish acronym MUD to demand early general elections.

Capriles, the 44-year old leader of the center-right Justice First party, is the most prominent opponent of socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

With the latest sanctions, the United States government said the court members were being targeted because they had "usurped the authority of Venezuela's democratically elected legislature".

The new sanctions come as Maduro is facing increasing pressure at home and overseas to hold elections.

  • Zachary Reyes