US vows further action against Venezuela's 'bad actors' barring changes

The protest in Caracas comes after a tumultuous 24 hours of looting and protests in the western state of Tachira that led the government to send in

Venezuela's Supreme Court has always been filled with government loyalists.

The opposition leader stressed the passport was valid until 2020.

(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos). An anti-government protester raises his violin before National Guards, as he yells not to shoot at protesters, creating a brief pause during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

As night fell on Wednesday, thousands of opposition supporters poured onto the streets of different cities for rallies and vigils in honor of the fatalities during protests. Opposition leaders are demanding immediate presidenti.

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles said he was barred from leaving the country Thursday as he planned to address a United Nations session in NY about the country's escalating violence.

Earlier Thursday, Mr. Trump expressed dismay about Venezuela's troubles, asking aloud how a nation sitting atop the world's largest oil reserves could be stricken by so much poverty and unrest.

Haley said the US intention wasn't to be "intrusive" or "heavy-handed" but to support regional efforts to find a political solution and "show respect for the Venezuelan people" who want free and fair elections, the release of political prisoners and the worsening humanitarian situation addressed.

"The intent of this briefing was to make sure everyone is aware of the situation ... we're not looking for Security Council action". Maduro says far-right extremists are working with criminal gangs to foment the violence.

Moreno, while not directly involved in those decisions, has defended them and from the bench also upheld a almost 14-year sentence for opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez a day after Trump called for his release at a White House meeting with Lopez's wife.

"We will not let the homeland fall into chaos", he said.

Venezuela's UN envoy Rafael Ramirez in turn accused the United States of seeking to topple the Maduro government.

"We will never be a threat against the peace and security in worldwide or the regional level", he insisted.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has been pushing for Caracas to be suspended from the hemispheric body if it did not swiftly hold general elections amid the economic crisis, and the Spanish-speaking nation threatened to withdraw its membership in the organization after the Washington-based OAS last week floated the idea of the foreign ministers' meeting, now likely to be held on May 21 or 22, according Peru's foreign minister Ricardo Luna.

The United States requested the closed-door consultations on Venezuela despite objections from some council members who insisted the crisis was not a threat to worldwide security.

In a press briefing earlier in the day, President Trump called the situation in Venezuela "a very, very frightful problem". "And so we need to act, in whatever way we can, starting with our discussion today", he said.

According to a 2007 US strategic document leaked by former CIA-whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, Venezuela was seen as the main adversary of the United States in the Western Hemisphere.

He said Venezuela prefers the regional approach, noting that Pope Francis has offered help and the former presidents of the Dominican Republic, Spain and Panama are talking to both sides. But Trump's repeated criticisms of the troubled South American nation appear to have struck a nerve. The state prosecution service said on Twitter the boy was killed "during a demonstration" there.

"Venezuela will resolve its own internal problems", Ambassador Rafael Ramirez told reporters after the meeting.

"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.

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