Venezuela opposition leader's passport seized amid ongoing protests

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

Henrique Capriles, one of the leaders of the Venezuelan opposition, said Thursday his passport was annulled when he was at the Maiquetia airport, ready to travel to the United Nations office in NY to report human rights violations during mass anti-government protests in Venezuela.

Throughout its budget justifications for Venezuela, the department of state repeatedly emphasizes its concern over the "increasingly authoritarian tendencies" of the governments of the late President Hugo Chavez, and current President Nicolas Maduro, in spite of regularly scheduled elections that are internationally recognized.

The U.S. Treasury Department is freezing the assets of eight members of Venezuela's Supreme Court of Justice as a result of rulings that the U.S. says have usurped the power of that country's democratically elected National Assembly.

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

The high court is dominated by loyalists of President Nicolas Maduro.

Manuel Castellanos was allegedly shot in the back by government troops who were firing at protesters in the town of Tucape, El Nacional newspaper said, APA reports quoting sputniknews.

"For the sake of the Venezuelan people, and the security of the region", Haley said, "we must work together to ensure Maduro ends this violence and oppression and restores democracy to the people".

With the latest sanctions, the USA government said the court members were being targeted because they had "usurped the authority of Venezuela's democratically elected legislature".

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 want medicine!" they yelled. She said that far from resolving the nation's current crisis, convoking the special assembly would likely only serve to further accelerate the nation's upheaval. Maduro's opposition was planning a larger Saturday protest nationwide to demand elections.

There was no immediate reaction from the Maduro government, but in the past it has disputed that the country's justice system is politicized.

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

Critics have said Maduro's bypassing of the country's legislative body represents a troubling turn toward autocratic rule.

Trump's sanctions and comments against Venezuelan officials played to the government's longstanding accusations of US imperialism in Latin American affairs.

The United States warned at the United Nations that Venezuela's crisis was worsening and could escalate into a civil conflict like that of Syria. But they said the ultimate goal is to bring about a positive change in behavior and encourage these individuals to "change their ways and contribute to Venezuelan society".

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