December 11, 2014 / 12:09 AM / 5 years ago

U.S. Congress passes sanctions on Venezuelan officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to impose sanctions on Venezuelan government officials found to have violated protesters’ rights during demonstrations earlier this year.

The Senate approved the measure on Monday, so the House’s approval by voice vote sends it to the White House, where President Barack Obama’s administration has signaled he would sign the legislation into law.

The measure would deny visas and freeze assets of officials involved in what the law considers a crackdown on political opponents during three months of street protests in Venezuela over crime and the economy that left 43 dead.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro railed against the measure’s “insolent imperialist sanctions” after it was passed by the Senate. Venezuela has accused the opposition of plotting with Washington to topple his government.

Senator Robert Menendez, who sponsored the bill, called on other countries to follow the U.S. lead.

“Governments in our hemisphere and throughout the world must stand in solidarity with the citizens of Venezuela by denying Venezuelan officials involved in human rights violations entry into their countries and access to their financial systems,” he said.

Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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