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U.S. Treasury Department Imposes Sanctions on Venezuelan Supreme Court

U.S. Treasury Department Imposes Sanctions on Venezuelan Supreme Court

The U.S. Treasury Department is freezing the assets of eight members of Venezuela's Supreme Court of Justice as a result of rulings that the U.S. says have usurped the power of that country's democratically elected National Assembly.

Hundreds have been injured and dozens killed in anti-government protests in Venezuela.

Opposition activists clash with riot police during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, on May 10, 2017.

(AP Photo/Fernando Llano). Security forces fire tear gas at anti-government protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has likened the harassment of government officials and their families living overseas to the treatment of Jews under the Nazis.

Barricades of trash, vehicle tires, and sand littered the streets, as daily life broke down in the city that was also a hotspot during the 2014 wave of unrest against leftist President Nicolas Maduro. "There's great violence", Trump told a press conference with visiting Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday called the situation in Venezuela a "disgrace to humanity" and said the deadly political crisis was possibly the worst of its kind in decades. But sanctions so far have stopped short of hit ting the oil sector in Venezuela, which is a major US oil supplier. The protest in Caracas comes after a tumultuous 24 hours of looting and protests in the western state of Tachira that led the government to send in troop reinforcements.

In New York on Wednesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned of the consequences of "serious instability" in the country.

The opposition has accused the government of violently repressing protests by Venezuelans demanding early elections to remove Maduro from power.

Earlier Thursday, Trump expressed dismay about Venezuela's troubles, asking aloud how a nation sitting atop the world's largest oil reserves could be stricken by so much poverty and unrest.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, however, said on Twitter that the United States was out to topple the Venezuelan government. Even though they no longer sit in Congress, the court said opposition leaders had not handled their case legally. He called Venezuela's problems a domestic matter and said Maduro's government is trying to resolve them and will not allow any outside interference.

In March 2015, former President Barack Obama expanded USA sanctions against Venezuelan officials and declared worsening relations with the South American nation to be a national emergency. The Organization of Americas States will hold an emergency ministerial meeting on May 31 to address the crisis.

He said Venezuela prefers the regional approach, noting that Pope Francis has offered help and the former presidents of the Dominican Republic, Spain and Panama are talking to both sides.


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