A congressional aide and a USA official say the Trump administration plans to impose new sanctions against Venezuelan officials for alleged human rights violations as it grows more concerned about the crackdown on anti-government protesters. The opposition rejects that plan as another attempt by the president to tighten his grip on power, and opposition leaders are calling on Venezuelans to continue to take to the streets in protest.
A protester demonstrates against the Venezuelan government outside the Organization of American States during a special meeting in April.
The opposition has accused the government of violently repressing protests by Venezuelans demanding early elections to remove Maduro from power.
Six weeks of anti-government unrest in Venezuela have resulted in at least 44 deaths, as well as hundreds of injuries and arrests in the worst turmoil of President Nicolas Maduro's four-year rule.
On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council held a closed-door session over the deteriorating situation in Venezuela at the request of the United States. In February, the administration ordered sanctions against Vice President Tareck El Aissami, accusing him of playing a major role in global drug trafficking.
The UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, was due to meet with Capriles in NY on Friday. "What they want to do here is avoid us going to the United Nations", Capriles said, before returning to the capital to join a protest march.
"The Venezuelan people are suffering from a collapsing economy brought about by their government's mismanagement and corruption", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The new sanctions package was aimed at stepping up pressure on supporters of the leftist government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro amid growing U.S. concern over a crackdown on mass street protests.
The high court is dominated by loyalists of President Nicolas Maduro.
They pledged to work together to help the Venezuelan people.
"We haven't really seen a problem like that.in decades, in terms of the kind of violence that we're witnessing", Trump told a joint news conference with visiting Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. It said the National Assembly was in contempt.
Maduro has said he had no prior knowledge of the Supreme Court ruling against congress in March, pointing to the objections raised by Venezuela's chief prosecutor as proof the country's institutions operate independently.
In Caracas, protesters sought to march to the Interior and Justice Ministry but were blocked on a major highway by security forces firing tear gas and using armored vehicles.
The U.S. government said the judges were being targeted beca us e they had " us urped" democratic authority.