According to Ring of Fire radio and RT, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also announced in a speech on Saturday that former president George W. Bush and former vice president Richard “Dick” Cheney would not be allowed visas to enter Venezuela.
There will also be new mandatory visa requirements in general for all U.S. nationals travelling to Venezuela.
The new visa requirements were changed on March 3rd, according to TeleSUR.
Along with former president Bush and vice-president Cheney, Maduro also said that Congressional Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Marco Rubio (FL), and Democrat Robert Menendez (NJ), and former CIA chief George Tenet would be banned from entering Venezuela as well.
Maduro also called them “terrorists,” in an interview with teleSUR Saturday.
In the interview, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez also said that the U.S. Embassy in Caracas will be ordered to reduce its diplomatic staff.
The Venezuelan government says the embassy has over 100 workers.
Rodriguez added that current United States diplomats in Venezuela will have to re-apply for visas.
Maduro said that these new visa bans target those who “violated human rights and bombed villages in Iraq, Syria, and Vietnam,” and that from now on, US diplomats “will be required to seek approval from the Foreign Ministry for meetings they conduct in Venezuela,” according to RT.
For Americans traveling to Venezuela in general, a new tourist visa fee will be implemented at a rate equal to that which “a Venezuelan pays to travel to the US,” Maduro said.
In other news, the United States declared Venezuela a national security threat on Monday and ordered sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials in the worst bilateral diplomatic dispute since socialist President Nicolas Maduro took office in 2013, says Reuters.
U.S. President Barack Obama signed and issued an executive order, which senior administration officials said did not target Venezuela’s energy sector or broader economy.
But the move stokes tensions between Washington and Caracas just as U.S. relations with Cuba, a longtime U.S. foe in Latin America and key ally to Venezuela, are set to be normalized.