Venezuela

U.S. House expected to vote on Venezuela sanctions Wednesday

The U.S. House is expected to vote on a sanctions bill Wednesday that would freeze assets and deny visas to Venezuelan authorities who were responsible for violence and political detentions in the wake of anti-government protests that began in February.

The bill passed the Senate on Monday and is expected to pass easily in the House, which has already backed similar measures.

If signed into law, the bill would target Venezuelan authorities who directed violence and human rights abuses, and ordered illicit detentions in response to a wave of protests. The bill would also allow the U.S. to target those who provided significant financial, material or technological support that lead to the abuses.

On Tuesday, President Nicolás Maduro accused Venezuela’s opposition of lobbying for the sanctions and warned President Barack Obama not to meddle.

“If they take the path of sanctions it’s not going to go well,” he said. “President Obama is playing with history.”

The Obama administration had initially opposed the bill but has signaled in recent weeks that it now supports sanctions.

“I’m pleased that the U.S. House of Representatives will bring to the floor this week the Senate legislation aimed at sanctioning the Maduro regime for its violations of human rights against the people of Venezuela,” Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, said in a statement. “By passing this legislation, we send a unequivocal message that we will not allow the actions of the Maduro regime to go unpunished and reaffirms that Congress stands in solidarity with the Venezuelan people.”

The vote is expected to take place at 6 p.m.

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