Bogota, September 25, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – US President Donald Trump announced that his government would include Venezuela in its notorious “travel ban” list Sunday, effectively barring a slew of Venezuelan government officials from US territory.
The infamous list was originally approved via executive order in January 2017 and initially included Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – though Iraq was removed in March 2017.
Citing its reasons for imposing restrictions on Venezuelan officials Sunday, the Trump administration said that Caracas had been “uncooperative” in identifying Venezuelan citizens that “pose national security or public-safety threat,” and had failed to “share public safety and terrorism-related information adequately”. It also stated that the Nicolas Maduro administration had been unwilling to fully cooperate with US deportation orders on Venezuelan nationals.
“As a result, the restrictions imposed by this proclamation focus on government officials of Venezuela who are responsible for the identified inadequacies,” reads the statement.
It continues: “The entry into the United States of officials of government agencies of Venezuela involved in screening and vetting procedures… and their immediate family members, as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended”.
Government officials from the Ministry of Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace, the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration, the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps, the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service, and the Ministry of Popular Power for Foreign Relations will all be affected by the new restrictions.
In addition to Venezuela, North Korea and Chad were also added to the catalogue of blacklisted countries Sunday, while the ban on Sudan was lifted.
Venezuela’s inclusion in the list comes just a month after the Trump administration announced a string of economic sanctions against the South American country in August.
Reacting to the news on Monday, Caracas slammed the move as “incompatible with international law” and said the Trump administration had used the war on terrorism as a “false pretext” to deal a blow to the Maduro administration.
“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela… rejects the imperial conduct of the government of the United States of America and reports that, in accordance with the principle of reciprocity, will consider all the necessary measures to defend its national interest and sovereignty,” reads a statement from the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry.
Bolivian President and Venezuela ally Evo Morales also condemned the measure as an affront to the entire continent shortly after the White House announcement.
“By attacking Venezuela, Trump attacks Latin America and violates the [Organization of American States] OAS charter, with the complicity of his [OAS head] employee [Luis] Almagro,” said Morales.
The new restrictions will come into effect on October 18, according to the White House press release.