As a response to the unrest that started in Venezuela in April, President Donald Trump's administration imposed sanctions on eight Venezuelan Supreme Court justices on Thursday.
Hundreds have been injured and dozens killed in anti-government protests in Venezuela.
Opposition activists accuse the country's President Nicolas Maduro of mismanagement that has led to a deep economic crisis in the country and call for an early election.
The increasingly embattled government of President Nicolas Maduro has detained and voided the passport of Henrique Capriles, governor of Miranda state and opposition leader, as Capriles was leaving for a meeting in the United Nations.
Venezuela's Supreme Court has always been filled with government loyalists, some of dubious legal qualifications. "Because right now what's happening is really a disgrace to humanity", Mr. Trump said after meeting at the White House with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
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.
Across the country near the border with Colombia, clashes and lootings raged overnight, even though the government sent 2,000 troops to Tachira state.
In New York on Wednesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned of the consequences of "serious instability" in the country.
The U.S. government said the judges were being targeted beca us e they had " us urped" democratic authority.
Trump said earlier Thursday.
That action, which was later reversed in the face of worldwide criticism and street protests, was one of a half-dozen rulings by the court that USA officials say "interfere with or limit the National Assembly's authority". She said the order was one more example of US attempts to destabilize Venezuela's government, adding that Maduro strongly backs the Supreme Court magistrates who are "victims of USA imperial power".
Despite having the world's largest known oil reserves, Venezuela is facing a shortage of many basic items, including food and medicines.
The number of people killed in seven weeks of opposition violence is not clear, with most putting it in the low forties - rivalling the 43 deaths in 2014's year-long "Guarimba" regime-change riots.
Since the beginning of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution, with the democratic election of former president Hugo Chavez in 1998, the oil-rich nation has been repeatedly attacked as "undemocratic". I respect people who work in offices, but I have no respect for politicking, a defiant Capriles, his voice rising, says later.
Uruguay's Ambassador Elbio Rosselli, who holds the council presidency this month, said the Organization of American States (OAS) and other regional bodies were best-placed to help address the crisis.