U.S. imposes sanctions on Venezuelan supreme court justices

But if the Venezuelan dictator does not leave power democratically, Fox said, "if not, let his accomplices in Cuba or some other Latin American country receive him as a refugee".

In New York on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned of the consequences of "serious instability" in the country.

(AP Photo/Fernando Llano). Security forces fire tear gas at anti-government protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

In March 2015, former President Barack Obama expanded US sanctions against Venezuelan officials and declared worsening relations with the South American nation to be a national emergency.

Guerrero was killed in Tachira state, where three people have died this week.

Officials will meet in Brussels Wednesday to discuss USA plans to broaden an in-flight ban on laptops and tablets to include plans from Europe.

Another sanctioned magistrate, Calixto Ortega, is a long-time diplomat who was sent by Maduro in 2014 to Aruba to negotiate the release of a retired army general who had been arrested on a USA drug warrant.

The announcement followed a series of rulings since mid-2016 in which the court usurped the National Assembly's powers in support of Maduro. Earlier Thursday, the USA leader expressed dismay about Venezuela's troubles, asking aloud how a nation holding the world's largest oil reserves could be stricken by so much poverty and turmoil. But demonstrations have escalated into a vehicle for airing grievances against the government for triple-digit inflation, food shortages and a rise in crime.

"We've been in the street for more than 40 days because this government has broken every law, every human right, and we can not bear it anymore", said one demonstrator, Eugenia, who asked that her last name not be used. Even though they no longer sit in Congress, the court said opposition leaders had not handled their case legally.

Worldwide pressure on the troubled South American nation has been increasing, with the Organization of American States voting Monday to hold a rare foreign ministers' meeting later this month to discuss the crisis.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox labeled Venezuelan President Maduro's call for a Constitutional Assembly a strategy to gain time (Flickr).

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the South American nation of 30 million in protest against the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro, demanding elections, freedom for jailed activists, foreign aid and autonomy for the opposition-led legislature.

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

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