In particular, the State Department said it was imposing visa restrictions on "individuals responsible for undermining Venezuela’s democracy. We are applying this policy to numerous Maduro-aligned officials and their families. On February 28, we revoked the visas of 49 individuals".
Tensions in Venezuela escalated in late January when Juan Guaido declared himself interim president. The United States immediately recognized Guaido, and a number of its allies followed suit. Maduro has accused Guaido of conspiring with the United States to overthrow the country’s legitimate government.
Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia and a number of other countries have reaffirmed their support for Maduro as Venezuela’s only legitimate president. The United Nations also still recognizes the Maduro government.
"Mr. [President] Donald Trump not only attacks Venezuela every day, but also pressures a number of countries into making unusual steps, which are actually ridiculous and insulting for their peoples. Long live our America, despite the governments surrendered to imperialism", Arreaza wrote on Twitter.
The statement came after the Venezuelan opposition tried on 23 February to force US-sponsored aid into Venezuela through its borders with Colombia and Brazil, both of which support the opposition. The failed attempt sparked clashes between Venezuelan officers, who prevented trucks from crossing the country's border without permission, and pro-aid protesters. Constitutionally elected Nicolas Maduro denounced the unauthorized aid delivery as part of Washington's attempts to intervene in Venezuela and oust him from power, saying the opposition and longtime US ally Colombia gathered special gangs of bandits at the border.
Caracas, meanwhile, recalled that under international humanitarian law, humanitarian aid is provided in the event of natural disasters, armed conflicts and war. According to Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, claims about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country are designed to justify the invasion of Venezuela, but the people will not allow this.