Venezuela’s Supreme Court on Tuesday barred opposition leader and self-declared president Juan Guaido from leaving the country and ordered a freeze on his financial assets.
Chief Justice Maikel Moreno said in a post on his Twitter account that the court was initiating a preliminary investigation and the precautionary measures against Guaido were designed to safeguard the country's integrity.
Earlier in the day, Venezuela's Attorney General Tarek Saab asked the court to launch a criminal probe against Guaido.
Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10, when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term after the opposition boycotted the vote.
Last week, Guaido, the leader of Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly, declared himself acting president, a move immediately supported by U.S. President Donald Trump.
Maduro quickly shot back, cutting off diplomatic relations with the U.S. and giving American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country. He later suspended the order and gave Washington 30 days to negotiate or withdraw its remaining personnel.
He has repeatedly lashed out at the U.S., saying Washington is waging an economic war against him and his government amid a sweeping sanctions campaign.
By Muhammed Emin Canik in Buenos Aires