On February 2, the U.S. State Department announced it was imposing restrictions on the visas of several unnamed public officials in Venezuela who the Department accused of repressing political dissent (not incidentally the dissenters have direct ties to the State Department). According to the State Department’s official memo:
We are sending a clear message that human rights abusers, those who profit from public corruption, and their families are not welcome in the United States.
No, this is not an April Fool’s joke two months in advance. It’s just more brazen hypocrisy on the part of Washington D.C.
Meanwhile Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro, in awe of the absolute absurdity of the U.S. position, had a tongue-in-cheek response,
“What human rights are they talking about?
They kill black youth in the street with impunity,
they persecute and have concentration camps of Central American kids,
they have abducted dozens of citizens of the world under no known legal system,
submitting them to torture, isolation [at Guantanamo].”
One month later, after more and more evidence of U.S. agencies attempting to orchestrate a coup against the current government in Venezuela was uncovered, President Maduro is countering U.S. State Department actions with a few measures of his own. Among them is a new requirement that Americans pay for their visas to travel to Venezuela, a rather modest move on Maduro’s part considering how hard it is for Venezuelans to enter the U.S. As Venezuelan Foreign Relations Minister Delcy Rodriguez notes, “”It’s nothing unusual. Venezuelans have to pay in dollars just to apply for a visa to go to the U.S., even if they’re not granted one.” The U.S. embassy in Venezuela will also now have to reduce its staff from over 100 down to just 17, mirroring the fact that the Venezuelan embassy in Washington has just 17 employees.
On top of that, Maduro has announced the creation of Venezuela’s own “anti-terrorist list”. Chief among the Americans on the list of current and former public officials are former U.S. President George W. Bush, former Vice President “Dick” Cheney and former CIA Director George Tenet. Also included are the pro-interventionist Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and anti-Latin American independence GOP Senator Marco Rubio. Of the U.S. politicians whose names are on the list the Venezuelan President had this to say:
“I have decided on a prohibition list for people who will not be permitted visas and who can never enter Venezuela, for a set of chief US politicians who have committed human rights violations. They have bombed the people of Iraq, the people of Syria, the people of Vietnam…”
It is important to state that although President Maduro called for an end to U.S. imperialism, he stressed that his government’s fight is not against the people of the United States, but against the imperialist policies of their government. He specifically referred to citizens of the U.S. as “brother peoples” and clarified that the new measures were aimed only at the “imperialist elite”.
The vilification of Maduro and the Bolivar Revolution he represents will undoubtedly grow even louder in the U.S. media in the months ahead. It may possibly soon rival that of the negative portrayal of Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, it’s important not to lose sight of how hypocritical it is for the U.S. to even consider condemning Venezuela for any alleged human rights abuses, all of which pale in comparison to the well known human rights abuses carried out regularly by the United States Empire. For if we are to take the State Department at its word that “those who profit from public corruption, and their families are not welcome in the United States”, it would necessitate deporting just about every police officer and politician out of the country, and all the wealthy corporate CEOs and Wall Street stockbrokers whose bidding they do as well.