U.S. bars two Venezuelan officials from travelling to U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Friday it would bar two Venezuelan officials accused of human rights violations from travelling to the United States in its latest action to pressure Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro into stepping down.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement the two officials, Rafael Enrique Bastardo Mendoza, the commander of Venezuela’s special forces, and Ivan Rafael Hernandez Dala, the chief of counterintelligence, had committed “gross violations of human rights.”

The United States imposed financial sanctions on the two officials, as well as three other people, in February.

The State Department’s move allows it to revoke any visas the two officials, their spouses and minor children may have and renders them ineligible for travel into the United States.

(Reporting by Makini Brice and Susan Heavey; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Tom Brown)

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