Venezuela opposition leader blocked from traveling to UN

A demonstrator and boy wearing a helmet and holding a shield walk on a blocked highway as a barricade burns in the background during a national sit-in against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas Venezuela Monday

Venezuelan opposition activists clash with the riot police during a rally against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, on May 18, 2017.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday slapped sanctions on eight Venezuelan supreme court justices, accusing them of abusing the authority of the country's legislature.

Protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have unleashed a witch hunt overseas, with groups of emigrants identifying government-linked Venezuelans on social media and targeting them with insults and booing.

Trump's comments came at a news conference following his meeting at the White House with Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos where the two leaders discussed the "deteriorating situation in Venezuela".

"People don't have enough to eat".

Protesters blame Maduro for an economic crisis that has caused shortages of food and medicine.

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.

The government and the opposition have accused each other of sending armed groups to sow violence in the protests.

Venezuela, once rich with oil revenue, is running out of money while residents are scrounging for food and basic necessities and crime is skyrocketing.

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

She said the order was one more example of USA attempts to destabilize Venezuela's government, adding that Maduro strongly backs the Supreme Court magistrates who are "victims of US imperial power".

The officials say the list of blacklisted officials is likely to include members of Venezuela's Supreme Court, which issued a controversial late March ruling stripping congress of its last powers.

The sanctions freeze any assets the country's most powerful judicial figures may have in U.S. jurisdictions and lock them out of much of global banking.

"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", U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said. 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.

Social media has buzzed for weeks with videos of Venezuelan emigres in countries ranging from Australia to the United States shouting insults at public officials and in some cases family members in public places.

Rycroft said the United Kingdom is very concerned about the humanitarian impact of the current crisis, "the growing risks of flows of migration out of Venezuela and. the possibility of regional instability".

"We are the Jews of the 21st century", Maduro declared. The latest reports say that 46 people have died and around 1,000 have been injured during the protests.

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