WASHINGTON (AP) - A bill that seeks to punish Venezuelan officials accused of human rights abuses has surmounted another hurdle in the Senate.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said Tuesday he withdrew his objection to the legislation after Venezuela secured the release of an official detained in Aruba, whom the U.S. had sought to extradite on drug trafficking charges.
Corker says Venezuela's complicity with criminal activity threatens its neighbors and demands a response.
The State Department said Monday it had credible reports that Venezuela used threats to force Aruba and the Netherlands to release former general Hugo Carvajal. Corker had opposed the bill on the grounds it would allow Venezuela's socialist government to use the U.S. as a scapegoat.
The bill would ban visas for Venezuelan officials who crushed anti-government protests this spring, and freeze their assets.