US President Barack Obama will levy sanctions on Venezuela’s government officials over human rights abuses, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest has announced.
“The President [Obama] plans to sign the bill [to impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials] into law and will coordinate with the relevant agencies and members to implement the law,” Earnest told journalists during a press briefing Thursday.
On Wednesday US House of Representatives passed a bill which authorized Obama to impose sanctions on Venezuela’s politicians in the form of asset freezes and visa bans for violating the rights of protesters, who took to the streets in February protesting against the Venezuelan government.
Earnest stressed that the United States «have not and will not remain silent in the face of Venezuelan government actions that violate human rights and fundamental freedoms and deviate from well-established democratic norms”.
The spokesperson said the United States is interested in supporting “greater political space” in Venezuela and ensuring “the government lives up to its shared commitment to the collective defense of democracy”.
During the protests, Venezuelan authorities arrested thousands of activists who took part in anti-government demonstrations. The country’s opposition has claimed that the protesters, some of whom died in clashes with security forces, were targeted for their political beliefs.