Venezuelan leader to Trump: "'Get your pig hands out of here"

Venezuela has been in the throes of violent protests for a month and half as millions of citizens have taken to the streets, denouncing what they say is President Nicolas Maduro's push toward dictatorship.

Among those targeted is Maikel Moreno, the president of the pro-government Supreme Court, which issued a ruling in late March. "It's outrageo us and unacceptable for the United States to impose sanctions on a sovereign and independent nation in violation of Venezuela n and worldwide laws", she said on Twitter.

Haley said "peaceful protesters have been injured, arrested and even killed by their own government".

Maduro's government accuses them of seeking a violent coup and says numerous protesters are no more than "terrorists".

Opposition activists accuse the country's President Nicolas Maduro of mismanagement that has led to a deep economic crisis in the country and call for an early election.

The department announced in a news release Thursday that it has designated eight of the court's judges as government officials under a 2015 executive order signed by then President Barack Obama.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez decried the US sanctions on Twitter as "outrageous and unacceptable". The meeting comes amid almost daily protests in Venezuela for almost two months.

Despite its vast oil reserves, Venezuela is suffering chronic shortages of food, medicine and other basic supplies.

In March, Venezuela's foreign minister, Delcy Rodriguez, expressed to his country's chief rabbi, Isaac Cohen, "the desire to establish full relations with the State of Israel" eight years after the South American nation expelled its Israeli ambassador.

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

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

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.

Just last week, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves warned that a wedge was being driven through the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) over a plan for "regime change" in Venezuela. On Thursday, several thousand demonstrators once again collapsed Caracas and other cities in protests that ended in clashes with security forces firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

The state prosecutor's office confirmed his death, which pushed the death toll in six weeks of unrest to at least 43, equal to that of the 2014 protests.

"We've been in the street for more than 40 days because this government has broken every law, every human right, and we can not bear it anymore", said one demonstrator, Eugenia, who asked that her last name not be used.

  • Zachary Reyes