Venezuela imposes limits on US diplomats

Venezuela"s President Nicolas Maduro (R) greets supporters during a rally to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the social uprising known as "Caracazo", which Venezuela"s late President Hugo Chavez said marked the start of his revolution, in this CaracasImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
President Nicolas Maduro greets his supporters in a Caracas rally

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has announced measures to limit the number of US diplomats working in the country.

President Maduro said he wanted a review and reduction of American diplomatic staff.

US citizens visiting the country would also need visas and there would be a list of politicians who would be banned from entry.

Mr Maduro said US meddling had forced him to adopt the new measures.

The preisdent said that the US government had 100 employees working in Venezuela whereas Venezuela had 17 based in the US.

Mr Maduro said Venezuela would be charging Americans the same rates for visa as those levied on Venezuelans wishing to visit the United States.

A list of banned politicians would include George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio.

Mr Maduro said these were all men who had violated human rights and encouraged terrorism, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

Earlier this month the United States imposed visa restrictions on unnamed Venezuelan officials it accused of human rights violations and corruption.

The move builds on sanctions imposed last year on Venezuelan officials alleged to have violated the rights of protesters during demonstrations that shook the country in the first six months of 2014.

The list of officials banned from entering the US was extended to include family members.

Earlier this month President Maduro accused the US of working with opposition groups to stage what he said was a coup that involved bombing the presidential palace.

Washington rejected the accusations as ludicrous.

The two countries have not exchanged ambassadors for the last five years.