New sanctions coming for Venezuela officials

New sanctions coming for Venezuela officials

The opposition is calling for early elections and the release of opposition politicians jailed in recent years, saying the socialist governments of Mr Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, have mismanaged the economy since coming to power in 1999.

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.

He warned that if things go wrong Venezuela could "descend into conflict" and threaten global peace and security, "and so we need to act, in whatever way we can, starting with our discussion today".

She said for more than 40 continuous days Venezuela's security forces have been attacked by mercenary forces.

"Members of the country's Supreme Court of Justice have exacerbated the situation by consistently interfering with the legislative branch's authority", he said.

The sanctions punished the justices by freezing their assets held in USA jurisdictions.

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

Demonstrators run on a closed highway during a national sit-in against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 15, 2017.

U.N. Ambassador Sacha Llorentty Soliz of Bolivia, whose government is an ally of Venezuela, said Wednesday's council meeting interfered with regional efforts to resolve the political dispute.

While Gonsalves did not name the countries said to be behind the efforts to topple Maduro, Almagro has the support of the organization's largest member states such as the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and Colombia.

"You sort of have to wonder: Why is that happening?"

Maduro's government accused the protesters of seeking a violent coup and says many of them are no more than "terrorists". It said the National Assembly was in contempt.

In February, the USA designated Maduro's vice president and presumed heir Tareck El Aissami a major worldwide drug trafficker. Three years ago, three months of anti-government demonstrations resulted in 43 people killed. The United States warned on Wednesday at the United Nations that Venezuela's crisis was worsening and could escalate into a major conflict similar to Syria or South Sudan. 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.

Trump's comments came at a news conference following his meeting at the White House with Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos where the two leaders discussed the "deteriorating situation in Venezuela".