President Barack Obama has signed legislation into law allowing him to sanction Venezuelan government officials who were involved in a crackdown on anti-government protesters.
The bill authorizes sanctions that would freeze the assets and ban visas for anyone accused of carrying out acts of violence or violating the human rights of those opposing the South American nation's socialist government.
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Last summer, the State Department imposed a travel ban on Venezuelan officials who were accused of abuses during street protests that left dozens of people dead.
Venezuela criticized the legislation as it moved through Congress.