The government of Venezuela continues to demonstrate a lack of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, attempting to stifle dissent by prosecuting political activists and cracking down on peaceful protests, in spite of repeated calls for change by the United States, other governments, respected leaders, and groups of experts.
For this reason, the United States has announced more visa restrictions on an additional number of current and former Venezuelan government officials believed to be responsible for or complicit in human rights abuses. These restrictions will also affect the immediate family members of a number of those individuals subject to visa restrictions for believed involvement in human rights abuses or for acts of public corruption.
Under the same section of law, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry imposed visa restrictions on persons considered to be responsible for acts of public corruption, which is contributing to the rapidly worsening economic and social conditions in Venezuela.
Venezuela’s economy is in dire straits and the government’s refusal to make any reforms is only making it worse. According to economists inflation is now running at about 64 per cent, the highest in Latin America. At the same time, Venezuela’s oil revenues are being squeezed by sharply lower international oil prices. Indeed, everything from life-saving medicine and treatments to basic items like toilet paper are in short supply.
The United States calls on the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to respect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and to release political prisoners.
Until then, the United States, said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, “is sending a clear message that human rights abusers [from Venezuela], those who profit from public corruption, and their families are not welcome in the United States.”