Caracas, March 2nd 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) The Venezuelan government has responded to increased pressure from Washington by revoking visa rights for former US politicians such as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, described by President Nicolas Maduro as “terrorists against the peoples of the world” on Saturday.
“I have decided on a prohibition list for people who will not be permitted visas and who can never enter Venezuela, for a set of chief US politicians who have committed human rights violations. They have bombed the people of Iraq, the people of Syria, the people of Vietnam… It is an anti-terrorist list,” declared the head of state to an impassioned crowd.
The statements were part of a rousing speech delivered by the president on Saturday to thousands of marchers who had taken to the streets of Caracas to reject White House interference in the South American country. The march was a direct response to a string of further US sanctions enacted against the Venezuelan government in early February and to what Maduro characterised as a “moment of increased aggression” from the Obama administration. The head of state went on to call for a “global rebellion against US imperialism”.
“The US thinks it is the boss, the police of the world… Something happens somewhere, let’s say in Asia, and a spokesperson for the US comes out saying that the US government thinks that such and such a government shouldn’t do such and such a thing in Asia… Are we going to accept a global government? Enough of imperialism in the world!” stated an incensed Maduro.
During his speech, the head of state also announced a slew of new diplomatic measures against the US which include the implementation of visa requirements for all US citizens visiting Venezuela.
“They must pay what Venezuelans pay when they want to travel to the United States,” said the president.
Maduro explained that the changes were designed to “protect” Venezuelans, after a number of US citizens were discovered to be taking part in acts of espionage by Venezuelan authorities.
One of the most recent detections includes the pilot of a US airplane who was stopped and questioned by authorities on the border last week. A number of US citizens were also detained last year for their participation in the armed barricades or Guarimbas which sought to bring down the government and led to the deaths of at least 43 Venezuelans.
Despite the latest measures, Maduro emphasised that Venezuela continued to value its relationship with US citizens.
“You can count on the fact that the people of Bolivar respect the people of the US, and recognise in you a brother peoples, these decisions are against the imperialist elite,” he stated.
The new measures will see the number of staff at the US embassy in Caracas significantly reduced and US representatives obliged to inform Venezuelan authorities of any meetings that they intend to hold.
The diplomatic institution currently has over 100 employees, in comparison to just 17 who work at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington. Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez, has explained that the US diplomatic mission will be obliged to reduce its staffing numbers to 17 over the next 2 weeks.
Recently the US embassy in Caracas has become embroiled in a diplomatic altercation with the Maduro administration which has intensified since the discovery of a planned coup against the government in February. The Venezuelan head of state has accused the White House of conspiring against his government and charged embassy personnel with having advanced knowledge of the coup plot, which was allegedly being funded in US dollars from Miami.
Prior to the discovery of the coup, the US embassy was reported to have attempted to bribe senior military and government officials to partake in insurrectionist actions against the government. US Vice-president Joe Biden also made a series of statements accusing the Venezuelan government of repression following a meeting with the wife of jailed opposition leader, Liliana Tintori.
Current opinion polls suggest significant support amongst the population for government actions against the US. According to a February poll conducted by opposition aligned think tank, Hinerlaces, 92% of Venezuelans oppose any kind of foreign intervention while 62% think that the US should not be allowed to pass judgement on the country’s internal affairs.
In 2014, the US government issued 103 statements against Venezuela and another 65 since the start of the year. Just a few weeks ago, the Obama administration also approved increased funding for Venezuelan opposition groups and Non-Governmental Organisations.