THE US has placed travel restrictions on a number of Venezuelan officials.
Officials did not specify how many people would be affected, but said those “who have been responsible for or complicit in human rights abuses” would not be “welcome” in the US.
The Venezuelan opposition has been lobbying for sanctions since thousands of protesters were detained during anti-government protests.
At least 42 people were killed in the protests. The victims were from both sides of the political divide.
Relations between the US and Venezuela took a turn for the worse on Sunday when the former head of Venezuelan military intelligence, Gen Hugo Carvajal, was released from custody in the Caribbean and given a hero’s welcome in Caracas.
Gen Carvajal had been detained on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba over US accusations of drug-trafficking activities.
The US Treasury said he had been protecting drug shipments by
Colombian Farc rebels.
He was released after Venezuela claimed he had diplomatic immunity because he had been appointed as Venezuela’s consul
The US said his release was “deeply disappointing” and accused Venezuela of threatening Aruba and the Netherlands into freeing Gen Carvajal.
In a statement released on Wednesday, US state department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the travel restrictions were in response to “arbitrary detentions and excessive use of force” by Venezuelan officials as they tried to contain growing anti- government protest.