10 March 2015
Last updated at 03:41
The US has targeted at least seven Venezuelan officials with sanctions for alleged human rights violations.
Those named, including the head of police, will have assets frozen and be blocked from doing business with American firms or travelling to the US.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro later appeared on TV with the seven, hailing them as "heroes".
The US is particularly troubled by its diplomatic row with Caracas at a time when Washington has been trying to start a new relationship with Cuba and foster deeper ties with Latin America.
But the White House has tried to play down the effect of these words by saying that they are the "standard language" that it has used when it has decided to implement sanction programmes in 20 to 30 countries.
Venezuela's Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez told reporters that her country will insist on a relationship with the US that is "based on respect and sovereign equality".
The South American country was hit by major protests last year in which dozens were killed and more than 3,000 arrested in a wave of anti-government sentiment.
Support for President Maduro has dropped sharply amid an economic crisis marked by shortages and high inflation.
As well as Mr Gonzalez, the officials sanctioned by the US include the director of Venezuela's Bolivarian National Police.
The White House argues the officials were instrumental in human rights violations, persecution of political opponents and significant public corruption.
Another of the seven named is Antonio Jose Benavides Torres, the former director Venezuela's Bolivarian National Guard's, whom the US said "used force against peaceful protestors and journalists, including severe physical violence, sexual assault, and firearms".