Trump administration sanctions Venezuela Supreme Court

A masked anti-government protester shields himself during clashes with security forces in Caracas Venezuela Thursday

Trump administration sanctions Venezuela Supreme Court

It comes as the country has been plunged into chaos with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets to protest President Nicolas Maduro's government, which has responded with a heavy show of force.

"We haven't really seen a problem like that... in decades, in terms of the kind of violence that we're witnessing", Trump told a press conference with visiting Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

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

Godoy Calderon said after the U.S. senate resolution and the subsequent approval by the OAS (made up of South American and Caribbean countries) a wave of violent protests was unleashed in Venezuela.

More than 2,000 people have been detained and hundreds injured during nearly daily protests.

The agency said the justices were responsible for a number of rulings in the past year that have usurped the authority of Venezuela's democratically-elected legislature, the National Assembly.

The action marked second time the Trump administration has stripped high-level Venezuelan officials of their USA assets and banned Americans from any business dealings with them.

In February, the Trump administration also slapped Venezuela's vice president with what are called kingpin sanctions, for his role in the alleged trafficking of illegal drugs.

Doctors chant slogans in front of a line of National Guard personnel in riot gear during a demonstration against the shortage in medicines and in rejection of the government of President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on May, 17, 2017. "It's as if we are victims of a curse", said Julio Borges, president of Venezuela's National Assembly.

The revolutionary government has significantly eroded the political and economic hegemony the USA had over Venezuelan oil, which holds one of the largest petroleum reserves in the world.

Venezuela's Supreme Court has always been filled with government loyalists.

Global pressure on the troubled South American nation has been increasing, with the Organization of American States voting Monday to hold a rare foreign ministers' meeting later this month to discuss the crisis.

On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council held a closed-door session over the deteriorating situation in Venezuela at the request of the United States.

"We are the new Jews of the 21st century that Hitler pursued", Maduro said in a cabinet meeting.

The 2009 budget reiterated support and continued funding for the Organization of American States in order to deploy teams of "democracy practitioners" to Venezuela and Bolivia where they say "democracy is threatened by the growing presence of alternate concepts such as "participatory democracy".

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