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Venezuela Demands Visas for US Citizens

Venezuela announced a raft of measures against the U.S. late Saturday, including a new requirement for all visitors from the United States to apply for a visa

Ben Tavener / SAO PAULO 

The measures will "set limits and regularize relations with the United States and avoid the plotting in which the U.S. government has participated in order to force President Maduro from power by unconstitutional means," President Nicolas Maduro said at a major rally according to local media.

Maduro said he would not allow the U.S. to "govern the world" and called for a "global rebellion" against the country's "interventionalism."

Visas will be compulsory for all U.S. citizens wishing to travel to the South American country, although Maduro said American visitors were still welcome. The move is reciprocal, meaning U.S. visitors will pay what Venezuelans traveling to the United States have had to pay for their visas.

However, the president's invitation to visit the country will not extend to a number of U.S. officials set to be put on an "anti-terrorist list."

Among them are former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former CIA director George Tenet, and a number of members of the U.S. Congress, including Republican Senator Marco Rubio -- all of whom are deemed by Venezuela to have violated human rights, including roles in conflicts with Iraq, Syria and Vietnam, and are duly banned from entering the country.

Maduro also announced that the number of staff permitted at the U.S. embassy in Caracas would be reduced, with all embassy staff required to re-apply for their visas: "They (U.S.) have over 100 officials, while in the U.S. we have no more than 17," he was quoted by TeleSUR network as saying.

Maduro has repeatedly accused the United States of supporting opposition groups in Venezuela, and of conspiring to bring down his government, including by waging an "economic war" with the country.

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