The Venezuelan parliament has approved a law giving President Nicolas Maduro the power to legislate by decree for nine months in the face of what he describes as threats by the U.S. government.
The so-called “anti-imperialist” law passed on Sunday will be in effect from the time it is published in Venezuela’s Official Gazette and until Dec. 31.
Maduro requested the expanded powers in response to new U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan officials accused of human rights violations. Critics of Venezuela’s government have called the move a power grab.
The U.S. is targeting officials in the top echelon of Venezuela’s security apparatus responsible for cracking down on last year’s anti-government protests and for pursuing charges against opponents. The officials will be denied U.S. visas and have their U.S. assets frozen.