U.S. preparing new round of Venezuela sanctions; violent raid leaves 23 detained, buildings in shambles
The United States is considering sanctions against a new list of Venezuelan officials it considers responsible for aggravating the troubled nation's current crisis.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday his office is working with the U.S. Treasury Department on compiling "a very robust list of individuals."
He said the U.S. faces the challenge of responding in a way that is constructive, rather than providing another tool for officials in President Nicolas Maduro's government to "justify their current actions."
Meanwhile, in Venezuela, state security forces detained nearly two dozen people allegedly involved in violent acts against officers during an overnight raid that left several apartment buildings in shambles.
Residents at the Los Verdes complex in Caracas say officers fired weapons, destroyed elevators, broke doors and windows and shot to death at least one pet dog. Witness video showed an armored truck plowing through a metal yellow gate leading to the building.
"They are mafia criminals armed by the government," said opposition lawmaker Tomas Guanipa, describing as "vandalism" the government’s "excessive violence" at the complex, which houses some 4,500 people. Opposition leader Maria Corina Machado says the raid amounts to "state terrorism."
Two months of political upheaval in Venezuela have left nearly 70 dead, thousands detained and hundreds injured.