The travel bans target those who “violated human rights and bombed villages as in Iraq, Syria and Vietnam.” - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
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Venezuelan president Nicholas Maduro announced sweeping new travel restriction for American tourists in a speech last Saturday, including the requirement that all Americans traveling to Venezuela first obtain a visa.
“In order to protect our country..." proclaimed Presidnt Maduro, "I have decided to implement a system of compulsory visas for all Americans entering Venezuela.”
President Maduro said American tourists will now have to pay a fee comparable to the one Venezuelans pay to visit the U.S.
According to RT.com, President Maduro went on to announce former president George W. Bush and vice president Dick Cheney will not be among those granted a travel visa. The Venezuelan president says they are banned as "terrorists" for their actions in Iraq. Also named as persona non-grata were Republicans Senator Marco Rubio and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, as well as Democratic senator Robert Menendez.
Tensions have been higher than usual between Venezuela and the U.S. after President Maduro (photo right) accused Vice President Joe Biden as being the mastermind behind an attempted coup last month. Citing American interference, President Maduro also announced new restrictions on the size of the American embassy staff.
“First I have ordered the Foreign Ministry...to limit the number of officials at the (U.S.) embassy in Venezuela. They have 100 staff, we have 17."
U.S. diplomats will now be required to have prior approval from the Foreign Ministry for all meetings they conduct in Venezuela. President Maduro insists these measures are to "control American interference."
There was no immediate response from the White House or the State Department.
Photo via the White House Archives