Washington: US President Barack Obama Thursday signed into law a bill slapping sanctions on Venezuelan officials allegedly involved in a violent crackdown on anti-government protests in the South American country.
The bill passed by both chambers of Congress last week targets Venezuelan officials who directed "significant acts of violence or serious human rights abuses" against protesters during anti-government demonstrations earlier this year, in which more than 43 people were killed and over 800 others injured.
The bill authorises sanctions including denial of visas to the targeted Venezuelan officials and the freezing of their assets under US jurisdiction, according to Xinhua.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro denounced the bill last week, warning of "severe" countermeasures in the event of its approval. He also said he was "revising" diplomatic relations with the US because of a "continued policy of interventionism" by Washington in his country`s internal affairs.
Washington and Caracas have had a tense relationship since late President Hugo Chavez took power in 1999 and they have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010.