Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza on Wednesday commented on the entry ban recently announced by the White House, noting, that it was implemented a long time ago.
"It was in place already, they just wrote it down. It already happened," Arreaza said on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday. "They just wrote and issued it today but it was already happening."
The Venezuelan foreign minister also revealed that Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez would meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the UNGA.
"Our Vice President [Rodriguez] is coming and she will meet with him [Lavrov]," Arreaza said.
The entry ban was implemented by the US under the pretext that several categories of "senior members of the regime of Nicolas Maduro", among others, "formulate, implement, or benefit from policies or actions that undermine or injure Venezuela’s democratic institutions or impede the restoration of constitutional government to Venezuela."
According to the proclamation, several categories of Venezuelan officials have been banned from entering the US:
- "Members of the regime of Nicolas Maduro at the level of Vice Minister, or equivalent, and above";
- "All officers of the Venezuelan military, police, or National Guard at the rank of Colonel, or equivalent, and above";
- "All members of the organization known as the National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela";
- "All other aliens who act on behalf of or in support of the Maduro regime’s efforts to undermine or injure Venezuela’s democratic institutions or impede the restoration of constitutional government to Venezuela";
- "Aliens who derive significant financial benefit from transactions or business dealings with persons described in subsections (a) through (d) of this section; and"
- "The immediate family members of persons described in subsections (a) through (e) of this section."
Venezuela has experienced humanitarian and political crises that intensified in January, when US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido disputed Maduro's re-election and declared himself interim president.
The United States is pressing for regime change in Venezuela with sanctions complementing diplomatic efforts to oust Maduro by recognizing Guaido as president.
Maduro has called Guaido a US puppet and accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup in Venezuela to force a change of government and claim the country’s resources.
While the United States and its allies have recognized Guaido as the country's leader, Russia, China and numerous other countries say Maduro is the only legitimate president of Venezuela.