US issues new sanctions against Venezuela
Obama announces sanctions after Venezuela now requires compulsory visas for all US travelers and a ban on certain officials, including former President George W. Bush.

President Barack Obama on Monday issued an executive order to place new sanctions on seven Venezuelan officials for their roles in detentions, prosecutions and human rights violations during anti-government protests.

Obama has been considering his response to unrest in Venezuela that has led to the arrest of the mayor of the capital of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, on coup charges after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro claimed the mayor plotted to overthrow his government and blamed the U.S. for supporting the plot.

The U.S. action comes after the Venezuelan government recently announced a number of measures against the U.S., including compulsory visas for all U.S. travelers and a ban on certain officials, including former President George W. Bush.

Venezuela also reduced the number of staff permitted at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas and said all embassy staff would be required to re-apply for their visas.

Maduro also announced last week the arrests of several Americans on espionage charges.

"We’ve seen many times that the Venezuelan government tries to distract from its own actions by blaming the United States or other members of the international community for events inside Venezuela," according to a White House statement regarding the sanctions.

The Venezuelan officials designated in the executive order include commanders of the Central Region of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Army as well as officials of the national intelligence service and prosecutors.

The order requires freezing assets and interests of the designated individuals in the U.S., prohibiting business transactions and suspending their entries into the U.S.

The U.S. issued similar sanctions last December against Venezuela.

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Last Modified: 2015-03-10 13:31:29
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