US vows further action against Venezuela's 'bad actors' barring changes

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Henrique Capriles, one of the leaders of the Venezuelan opposition, said Thursday his passport was annulled when he was at the Maiquetia airport, ready to travel to the United Nations office in NY to report human rights violations during mass anti-government protests in Venezuela.

18 de mayo de 2017, 15:41Caracas, May 18 (Prensa Latina) Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have today held a telephone conversation in which they agreed to strengthen the strategic relationship between both nations.

The executive order issued Thursday marked the second time the USA has sanctioned leaders of Venezuela's socialist government since Donald Trump became president this year.

He discussed Venezuela's problems during a joint news conference at the White House with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

"People don't have enough to eat".

The Treasury department announced the move on Thursday (19 May), saying it was freezing the assets of eight Venezuelan government officials on the Supreme Court.

Other opposition leaders have also said that they've had their passports revoked by the government. The center-right opposition blames it all on mismanagement and corruption in the Socialist government.

Thursday as punishment for annulling the opposition-led Congress earlier this year, US officials said.

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The White House says the report is "not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Trump told Jeanine Pirro he "won't talk about" whether the hypothetical recordings to which he referred actually exist.

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

Venezuela presents a "very, very awful problem" for the entire hemisphere, and the ongoing unrest there that's left dozens dead and hundreds injured was "nothing like what we've seen for a long time", Trump said, adding that the USA stood with those "yearning to be free".

The Treasury Department sanctions were Washington's toughest action yet signaling support for hundreds of thousands of protestors seeking Maduro's tight grip on power. That designation means that as of Thursday, the eight magistrates' assets in the U.S are frozen and people in the US are prohibited from doing business or transacting with them. Maduro has said he had no prior knowledge of the Supreme Court ruling against congress in March, pointing to the objections raised by Venezuela's chief prosecutor as proof the country's institutions operate independently. Hopefully that will change and they can use those assets for the good.

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

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

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

The ruling was later partially reversed amid a backlash of global criticism, but it sparked a protest movement that has continued for almost two months and on Thursday claimed another victim, bringing the death toll to 45.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is praising the Trump administration for imposing sanctions on eight members of Venezuela's Supreme Court.

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