U.S. tightens Venezuelan sanctions

The United States tightened its sanctions against Venezuela again Monday when it imposed visa restrictions on more officials there.

The action came a day after President Nicolás Maduro accused Vice President Joe Biden of trying to depose him.  Maduro did this on national television.

“. . These allegations are baseless and false,” said Jen Psaki, the spokesperson of the State Department. “Such allegations distract from Venezuela’s own actions by blaming the United States or other members of the international community for events inside Venezuela. The Venezuelan government should focus on the legitimate grievances of its people, which include repeated violations of the freedom of speech – of freedom of speech and assembly as well as due process under the law.”

The U.S. government will not specify who are the targets of the visa restrictions, but they are supposed to be those who have been involved in abrogating the rights of citizens there.

When Maduro was in Costa Rica last week, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States passed a declaration that rejected the use of what the organization called coercive methods against Venezuela. In December U.S. President Barack Obama signed the first sanctions against Venezuelan government officials who violated the right of protesters. The action, which was approved by the U.S. Congress, denies U.S. visas and freezes assets held in the United States.

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