WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is considering adding Venezuela to its list of terrorist attacks, but no final decision…
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is considering adding Venezuela to its list of terrorist attacks, but no final decision has been made, a person familiar with the deliberations said on Monday.
PHILPHOTO: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with ministers at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, November 2, 201
8. Miraflores Palace / Handout via REUTERS
Adding Venezuela to the list can limit US financial assistance and introduce economic restrictions for a country already suffering from hyperinflation, mass migration and lack of food and medicine.
Discussions on this issue have been advancing in recent days with strong lobbying by Republican senator Marco Rubio, who has long pressed the government to take a harder position against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, said the source.
The Trump Administration has introduced several sanctions against Maduro’s Socialist Government since 2017 and accuses it of undermining democracy. On November 1, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to disturb Venezuela’s yellow exports.
Maduro, who denies restrictive political freedoms, has said he is exposed to a “economic war” led by the United States.
A timeframe for a decision on whether Venezuela would be added to the terrorist list had not yet been established, said the source.
The four countries currently on the list – North Korea, Iran, Sudan and Syria – have been found “repeatedly given support for acts of international terrorism”.
Washington Post, who first reported that the Trump administration considered the designation, said the US government department had requested feedback on the proposed flight from various authorities in recent days.
A state department spokesman said that it “consistently and continuously reviews available information and intelligence, from many sources, about possible state-level involvement in terrorism, evaluation of all credible, verified and confirmed information in its entirety.”  The White House declined to comment.
A senior US official told Reuters earlier this month that the Trump administration “looked at all possible ways” to push Maduro’s government.
“We believe his presidency is illegal,” said the official and reiterated Washington rejecting the outcome of Venezuela’s elections earlier this year. Maduro won a new six-year period in May but his main rivals disavowed the election and alleged massive irregularities.
“The regime really understands that the world is getting smaller for them. And that’s the kind of pressure needed to really change the minds of the regime.” The sanctions have an effect, “said the official.
Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Further Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Write by Eric Beech; Editing Sandra Templates
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