Obama sanctions top Venezuela officials

Mar 09, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT
(Anadolu Agency/Getty)
(Anadolu Agency/Getty)

U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order Monday that officially declared Venezuela a national security threat, Reuters reports. The move was allegedly motivated by concerns surrounding Caracas' human rights violations, and leveled financial sanctions against seven of the country's top officials. 

NPR reports that these sanctions built upon the language in the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, passed in December. The Venezuelan economy is currently suffering a serious downturn, and security officials have violently suppressed street protests throughout the country. One 14-year-old boy was killed in one of them, igniting anger.

The sanctions will bar affected officials from entering the U.S. or engaging in transactions with U.S. financial institutions, CNBC reports