Rubio praises Trump for new Venezuela sanctions

The Treasury Department has announced that it has sanctioned eight top Venezuelan government officials - all members of the country's Supreme Court of Justice.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the United States called for Wednesday's first-ever Security Council consultations on Venezuela to seek joint efforts to ensure that President Nicolas Maduro ends violence and restores democracy.

In a state broadcast Tuesday night, President Nicolas Maduro criticized Venezuelan expatriates who have been yelling at Venezuelan officials in other countries, or who use social media to post photos of officials living it up overseas while the country struggles with triple-digit inflation and food shortages.

Maduro's government accuses them of seeking a violent coup and says numerous protesters are no more than "terrorists".

"The United States has shed light on the plan it is leading to intervene in Venezuela", she said. They are demanding early elections and accuse him of trying to cling to power. It warned that Venezuela's crisis was worsening and could escalate into a civil conflict like that of Syria.

"The US meddling stimulates the action of violent groups in Venezuela", he said, after showing photos of vandalism and violence he blamed on opposition groups.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said on Thursday that authorities confiscated his passport and prevented him from traveling to NY to discuss the country's crisis with United Nations officials.

He says he's chose to return to Caracas and join an anti-government protest. In a subsequent release, he said authorities had annulled his passport, even though it was valid through 2020.

The move comes a month after Capriles, a two-time presidential candidate who was seen by many as the opposition's best chance in the presidential election scheduled for 2018, was banned from holding political office for 15 years.

Late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, Maduro's mentor until he died of cancer in 2013, was accused during his 14-year rule of making insensitive comments about Jews. The protests typically end with state security forces launching tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators, some of whom fire back with rocks and gasoline bombs.

The threat of new sanctions comes as Venezuela's socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, is facing increasing worldwide pressure to hold elections.

"We will be working with Colombia and other countries on the Venezuela problem", Trump said. "There's great violence", Trump told a press conference with visiting Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

"It has been unbelievably poorly run for a long period of time, and hopefully that will change and they could use those assets for the good and to take care of their people", he said.

"We can not lose any opportunity to help mediate" in Venezuela's current crisis, Jungmann said.