USA places Venezuela Supreme Court justices on sanctions list

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Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles said Thursday authorities confiscated his passport and prevented him from travelling to NY to discuss his country's deadly political crisis with United Nations officials.

Venezuela has been hit by a series of violent protests since early April, that have left at least 34 people dead and hundreds injured, as the opposition ramps up the pressure on Maduro to call overdue elections. The ruling was later partially reversed amid a surge of global criticism, but it sparked a protest movement that has seen almost daily street demonstrations for nearly two months - sometimes violent unrest that recorded its 45th death Thursday.

The threat of new sanctions comes as Venezuela's socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, is facing increasing worldwide pressure to hold elections. "By imposing these targeted sanctions, the United States is supporting the Venezuelan people in their efforts to protect and advance democratic governance in their country".

US President Donald Trump has called the situation in Venezuela "a mess" and his aides have threatened tougher measures against Caracas.

A demonstrator hols a sign that doubles a shield that reads in Spanish "It's for you", during a national sit-in against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 15, 2017.

Ramirez stressed that Venezuela is not on the Security Council agenda and said many council members "disagree with the U.S." and back his government's position that it shouldn't be there.

In a more detailed breakdown of the 2011 US$5 million budgeted for Venezuelan economic support, the budget indicates that US$1 million was designated specifically for the support of "political competition and consensus building".

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That action, which was later reversed in the face of worldwide criticism and street protests, was one of a half-dozen rulings by the court that US officials say "interfere with or limit the National Assembly's authority". It said the National Assembly was in contempt. Three years ago, three months of anti-government demonstrations resulted in 43 people killed.

"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 global laws", she said on Twitter. The Organization of Americas States will hold an emergency ministerial meeting on May 31 to address the crisis.

A masked anti-government protester shields himself during clashes with security forces, in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

The United States requested the closed-door consultations on Venezuela despite objections from some council members who insisted the crisis was not a threat to global security.

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

The chaotic nationwide protests this year began after the Supreme Court ruled to limit the power of the National Assembly and later reversed their decision due to national and worldwide pressure.