US Secretary of State John Kerry says “all options” are on the table against Venezuela days after a US Senate panel approved the imposition of sanctions on the Latin American country.
During his first visit to Mexico as the US secretary of state which was aimed at increasing educational ties between the two countries, Kerry spoke forcefully on Wednesday about the recent political unrest in Venezuela, saying the US is losing patience with the Venezuelan government.
“All options remain on the table at this time with hopes to move this process forward,” Kerry said in Mexico City. “Our hope is that sanctions won’t be necessary.”
Kerry’s remarks came one day after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 13-2 in favor of legislation requiring the Obama administration to ban visas and freeze the assets of Venezuelan officials for alleged human rights violations during anti-government demonstrations. The bill will now go to the full Senate floor for consideration.
Venezuela has been the scene of violent pro- and anti-government demonstrations since early February.
The opposition criticizes the government for the high crime rate and economic hardships in the country, claiming that the policies of the government have led to a shortage of essential goods and a high inflation rate.
The government of President Nicolas Maduro has said the violent protests are part of a US-engineered plot to overthrow the government in the oil-rich Latin American country.