Relations between Venezuela and the United States have long been toxic. But lately, Venezuelan authorities have angered Washington enough for Congress to approve sanctions this week against government officials in the South American country.
The bill has passed both the Senate and House of Representatives, and President Barack Obama is expected to sign it.
US lawmakers cast the measure as a human rights shield for Venezuelans:
“To impose targeted sanctions on persons responsible for violations of human rights of anti-government protesters in Venezuela, to strengthen civil society in Venezuela, and for other purposes.”
Starting in February, months of street protests over crime, economic problems and government policies ended with dozens killed and hundreds arrested.
If Obama signs bill S. 2142 — introduced by a fellow Democrat, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez — the US government will deny visas and freeze assets of Venezuelan government officials the US says were involved in the repression.
The Venezuelan government and its ardent followers are clearly upset. They’ve been tweeting defiantly with the hashtag #ObamaNoAceptamosSancionesDelImperio, meaning: ObamaWeDoNotAcceptSanctionsFromTheEmpire.
Here’s the full text of the bill below.