Photo: U.S. visas
The U.S. government announced Wednesday that it revoked the visas of several top Venezuelan officials allegedly involved in human rights violations.
“Venezuela in recent months has witnessed large-scale protests by demonstrators concerned about deteriorating economic, social, and political conditions. Government security forces have responded to these protests in many instances with arbitrary detentions and excessive use of force,” the State Department said.
“While we will not publicly identify these individuals because of visa record confidentiality, our message is clear: those who commit such abuses will not be welcome in the United States,” the department’s deputy spokesperson, Marie Harf, said in a statement.
Media accounts, citing members of Congress informed by the government about the measures, said that among those affected are senior military and police commanders and politicians.
“With this step we underscore our commitment to holding accountable individuals who commit human rights abuses,” Harf said.
Violence associated with the anti-government protests in Venezuela has left more than 40 people dead and upwards of 800 injured since the demonstrations began in mid-February.
The dead include both opponents and supporters of the government, as well as police and bystanders.
Around two dozen members of the security forces are awaiting trial in connection with instances of murder, torture and violations of human rights, according to the Venezuelan Attorney General’s Office.