Why Venezuela Is On President Trump’s New Travel Ban

September 25, 2017, 12:37 PM UTC

While previous iterations of President Donald Trump’s travel ban focused on Muslim-majority nations, the new travel restrictions announced Sunday included two non-Muslim-majority additions: North Korea and Venezuela.

Why is Venezuela on the travel ban? The travel restrictions on both countries are related to what the Trump administration describes as a lack of cooperation, but the the limits on the latter country are unique.

According to the Sunday proclamation, North Korea “does not cooperate with the United States government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements.” That’s perhaps little surprise given the rising tensions between North Korea and Trump. That said, the travel ban on that country will likely have little effect: North Koreans very rarely leave their own borders.

For Venezuela, on the other hand, Trump’s ban bars the entrance of certain government officials and their immediate families, but not the country’s citizens at large.

Notably, the new order argues that while its possible to obtain information on Venezuelan citizens through means outside its government, Venezuelan officials themselves have been uncooperative. Therefore, only the government has been banned.

“Venezuela’s government fails to share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately,” the proclamation read.

Relations between Venezuela and the U.S. have been deteriorating since the 1990s. Venezuela broke off diplomatic relations with the U.S. in 2008, and the U.S. declared the country a national security threat in 2015. President Trump earlier this year warned that a “military option” was on the table and slapped sanctions on the Latin American nation. With notable clarity, the U.S. has described current president Nicolás Maduro a “dictator” and his most recent election a sham.

Meanwhile, Nicolás Maduro Guerra, the son of President Maduro, threatened Trump in mid-August, saying that “If the unlikely event of defiling the homeland came to pass, the rifles would arrive in New York… Mr. Trump, we would arrive and take the White House.”

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