US Treasury slaps sanctions on 8 Venezuela court justices

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 19, 2017

A congressional aide and a USA official say the Trump administration plans to impose new sanctions against Venezuelan officials for alleged human rights violations as it grows more concerned about the crackdown on anti-government protesters. While the Supreme Court ultimately rescinded that ruling, Maduro later announced the creation of a constitutional congress to draft a new constitution, presumably to expand executive powers and limit the authority of the opposition-controlled assembly.

"Members of the country's supreme Court of Justice have exacerbated the situation by consistently interfering with the legislative branch's authority". Those decisions have since been partially reversed. 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.

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

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

The list of the justices was not immediately available.

The Venezuela's government said on Wednesday it was sending troops to Tachira.

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

(AP Photo/Fernando Llano). Anti-government protesters are met with tear gas fired by security forces as they try to march to the Interior Ministry, in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

The State Prosecutor's Office said three National Guard sergeants would be charged later on Thursday for their "presumed responsibility" in Castellanos' killing. President Maduro has reiterated that elections will be held on schedule in 2018, but the opposition has demanded his immediate removal, seeking foreign intervention in its destabilization campaign.

Capriles had meant to brief the high commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on deadly violence in Venezuela that has left 43 people dead.

He said the USA supports the Venezuelan opposition and "that's why this meeting instead of helping solving the problem - it will really be an obstacle".

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 worldwide crisis like in Syria. The Organization of Americas States will hold an emergency ministerial meeting on May 31 to address the crisis. Marco Rubio of Florida, the main congressional backer of Trump's hardened stance toward Maduro, said of the sanctions. "This announcement should be encouraging to the people of Venezuela that they are not alone".

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