National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, whom many regard as the most powerful man in Venezuela besides President Nicolás Maduro, will no longer be able to travel to the United States. Cabello announced that his American visa was revoked, claiming the reason was alleged ties to Osama bin Laden.
CNN en Español reports that in his announcement that he is no longer allowed in the United States, Cabello blamed a “deserter” from the Venezuelan military. “He denounced me, said that he took me to India and that I gave a million dollars to Osama bin Laden,” Cabello said. “That is the madness of these people, and they accepted his accusation there,” he continued.
Cabello made his statements at a public forum, announcing a delegation to the United States to enable dialogue, which he predicted would be canceled. He added that “radio and television campaigns [in the United States] condemn us morally in Miami, in Florida.”
Cabello–who hosts a television talk show in addition to running the National Assembly and serving as the vice president of the Venezuelan Socialist Workers Party–said on Twitter that his visa had been revoked in 2006.
Cabello may not be allowed in the United States, but the Venezuelan government is currently under fire, as many of its high-ranking party members and associates have been found to regularly visit America and indulge in capitalist luxuries. An América TeVe report uncovered that a number of Venezuelan socialist oligarchs, including the heads of state-run television, have purchased million-dollar homes, yachts, and other luxuries in Miami. Some members of Congress, notably Senator Marco Rubio, have called for sanctions on Venezuelan elites who use money acquired surreptitiously from government funds in the American marketplace.
Meanwhile, the situation for the average Venezuelan continues to deteriorate. The Maduro administration added two new rations to the long list of basic goods Venezuelans can no longer freely purchase in stores: water and electricity.
The state of Zulia will see rationing of electricity now that Colombia announced it would no longer export natural gas to Venezuela. The capital, Caracas, will be forced to ration water because of high demands on the power grid, Bloomberg reports. Supermarkets in the OPEC member nation also continue to lack basic goods, such as milk, vegetable oil, flour, and butter. Individuals must present proper ration cards and identification to purchase these items or face law enforcement.