Caracas (AFP) – Venezuela accused the United States on Monday of “psychological terrorism” designed to bring down the government after it was included in a list of eight countries targeted by a travel ban.
“These types of lists….are incompatible with international law and constitute in themselves a form of psychological and political terrorism,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Venezuela was added Sunday to a new list of countries targeted by the US ban, due to what it called poor security and a lack of cooperation with American authorities.
The restrictions on Venezuela were limited to officials from a list of government agencies and their families, while full travel bans were placed on nationals from the other seven countries, including North Korea and Chad.
The Socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro said Washington was using the fight against terrorism for its own political ends.
The foreign ministry statement said the ban was seeking to “stigmatize” Venezuela “under the pretext of combating terrorism, by including it in a unilaterally drawn-up list and accusing other states of being alleged promoters of this terrible 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.”
Venezuela has been rocked by months of economic chaos and deadly protests as Maduro tries to consolidate control, including through a new Constituent Assembly that has wrested power from the opposition-dominated legislature.
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza last week accused US President Donald Trump of being “racist and supremacist” after Trump told the UN General Assembly that the US was ready to act to restore Venezuela’s democracy.
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. Sudan was removed from the original list, after recent praise from US officials for Khartoum’s efforts in fighting terrorism.
The new restrictions replace an expiring 90-day measure that had locked Trump in political and legal battles since he took office in January over what critics alleged was an effort to bar Muslims from the country.