Venezuela: US travel ban an opinion 'strategy'

Lester Mason
September 26, 2017

Whereas Trump lashed out at Venezuela, calling the administration of President Nicolas Maduro a "socialist dictatorship" that destroyed a once wealthy country, Arreaza reminded the US president - a man who only received enough popular votes to claim second place in last year's USA presidential campaign - that Venezuela has held 22 elections in the past 18 years. Last month, the Treasury Department barred trading of new debt by the government and state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA.

Last week, Trump told the assembly Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was running a "corrupt regime".

It accused the United States of "unfriendly and hostile acts", describing the travel ban as the latest move in a systematic effort by the U.S. to force political change in Venezuela.

Venezuela was added Sunday to a new list of countries targeted by the USA ban, due to what it called poor security and a lack of cooperation with American authorities.

Venezuela's top diplomat accused U.S. President Donald Trump Monday of acting like "the world's emperor", batting back Trump's biting rebukes of Venezuela on the global stage of the U.N. General Assembly.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Trump had threatened the Venezuelan people, and that U.S. economic sanctions were illegal and meant to make people suffer and "undertake non-democratic changes in our system of government".

Amid an escalating war of words, Arreaza told the UN General Assembly that Venezuela would seek dialogue with Washington to "stop the madness and irrationality".

Trump on Sunday announced the restrictions on citizens from North Korea, Venezuela and Chad, expanding earlier travel bans that Trump says are necessary to fight terrorism but have been derided by critics and courts. "But, I insist, if they attack us in whatever area, we will respond strongly in defense of our homeland, of our people".

"These types of lists, it is worth underlining, are incompatible with worldwide law and constitute in themselves a form of psychological and political terrorism", Venezuela's foreign ministry said.

The US government, the foreign ministry said, "seeks to stigmatize our nation with the pretext of the fight against terrorism by including it on a list draw up unilaterally in which other states are accused of being alleged promoters of this awful scourge".

It rejected "the irrational decision of the United States government to once again catalog the noble Venezuelan people as a threat to their national security".

Invoking former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's famous quip that the podium "smells like sulfur" after then-U.S. President George W. Bush addressed the assembly in 2006, Arreaza said: "It's still valid".

Most of the nations affected by the ban were part of an original travel ban on Muslim countries that Trump authorized shortly after taking office.

His organization's fourth report on the Venezuelan political crisis says that democracy was "completely eliminated" when the "illegitimate" Constituent Assembly was established on July 30.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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