POSTED: 03:45 a.m. HST, Jul 30, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 04:16 a.m. HST, Jul 30, 2014
WASHINGTON >> Citing political instability, the State Department is imposing new restrictions on travel to the United States by Venezuelan government officials believed to be involved in human rights abuses.
Deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf says in a statement that the move "underscores our commitment to holding accountable individuals who commit human rights abuses."
In announcing the visa restrictions, the department said that in recent months Venezuela "has witnessed large-scale protests." It said the government in Caracas has responded to street protests in many instances with "arbitrary detentions and excessive use of force."
The department also said that it would not publicly identify individuals considered to be committing abuses against citizens, citing confidentiality rules surrounding visa processing.
Harf said the department is emphasizing that the action taken Wednesday is "specific and targeted."