Venezuela cuts US Embassy staff, restricts travel to US: The Two-Way: NPR
Xinhua / Landov
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced cuts in US diplomatic personnel in the country and restrictions on movement of US citizens there – as he accused Washington of “gringo” interference.
“The president said the US government has 100 employees working in Venezuela while Venezuela has 17 based in the US.
Mr. Maduro said Venezuela would charge Americans the same visa fees as those charged to Venezuelans wishing to visit the United States.
“A list of banned politicians would include George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio.
“Mr. Maduro said that these were all the men who had violated human rights and encouraged terrorism, especially in Iraq and Syria.”
According to the Associated Press, Maduro said the new restrictions resulted from the recent detention of several US citizens, including a US pilot, allegedly involved in espionage.
AP said: “The president and other officials gave no specific information about Americans in detention, and the United States Embassy did not respond to a request for comment. Venezuela released four missionaries from North Dakota who had been detained several days two years ago for unknown reasons. They were banned from returning for two years. “
Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, have consistently accused the United States of trying to overthrow its regimes.
As we reported last month, Venezuelan authorities arrested Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, a major opposition figure, accusing him of planning a coup with the United States.