USA slaps more sanctions on Venezuela politicians including former President Chavez's brother


GETTYVenezuela Nicola Maduro should not have been criticised according to Chris Williamson

The government-packed high court sentenced Ramon Muchacho to 15 months in prison for not following an order to remove barricades set up in the leafy Chacao district of eastern Caracas where the Emory University MBA graduate has been mayor since 2013.

The dire economic situation also has stirred deep bitterness as people struggle with skyrocketing inflation and shortages of food and medicine.

"Witness accounts suggest that security forces. have systematically used disproportionate force to instill fear, crush dissent and to prevent demonstrators from assembling, rallying and reaching public institutions to present petitions", the United Nations office said.

Summoned by Peruvian president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, one of Maduro's most hardline critics, the meeting was held at the Foreign Ministry, and was chaired by Luna, although the Head of State did join the meeting in its final minutes.

Outside, police dispersed a small knot of protesters while pro-government militants prevented lawmakers from the rival, opposition-controlled parliament that shares the same Legislative Palace from entering.

As Venezuela descends into political chaos, a prominent opposition leader is taking umbrage over soccer great Diego Maradona's defense of President Nicolas Maduro's embattled government.

Government officials have said the assembly should strip lawmakers of their immunity from prosecution - a move meant to hold them accountable for allegedly stirring violence in four months of anti-government protests that have left more than 120 people dead and hundreds more injured or detained.

"I call on all parties to work towards a solution to the rapidly worsening tensions in the country, to renounce the use of violence and to take steps towards meaningful political dialogue", Zeid said.

They said they would not recognise any action taken by its "illegitimate" new Constituent Assembly.

The Treasury Department says seven are current or former Venezuelan government officials.

Venezuelan authorities did not respond to the team's request for access, the office said.

Colombia's Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, along with foreign ministers and representatives from across the Americas, gives a news conference after a meeting to discuss the Venezuelan crisis, in Lima, Peru, August 8, 2017.

Chile's foreign minister Heraldo Munoz told reporters that the group does not intend to meddle in Venezuela's sovereign affairs. An election for delegates to the constitutional assembly was fraught with accusations of vote tampering.

Meanwhile, leaders from the Bolivarian Alliance, a leftist coalition of 11 Latin American nations, met in Caracas and declared Venezuela's constitutional assembly a "sovereign act" aimed at helping the nation overcome its difficulties. According to the government, two of the intruders were killed and eight were captured, but the others got away.

On Monday, hackers hijacked the home pages of several government bodies and private companies in support of the rebel raid, posting excerpts from Charlie Chaplin's movie The Great Dictator.

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