US to designate Venezuela as state sponsor of terrorism

For now, however no final decision on the issue has been made

Photo: EPA Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

The Trump administration is reportedly getting ready to add Venezuela to the US list of state sponsors of terrorism in in what would be a dramatic escalation against the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro. The designation, which was reported by Washington Post, citing US officials and internal government emails, would place Venezuela on a list reserved for governments repeatedly accused of supporting "acts of international terrorism", such as Iran, North Korea, Syria and Sudan.

According to the media, the push is due to Venezuela’s alleged ties to Lebanese Hezbollah, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and other groups and aims to limit US assistance to the nation. In addition, it would prohibit financial transactions between the countries. 

The designation is the latest step Trump has taken in regards to Venezuela. Washington has already imposed sanctions against multiple people with close ties to Maduro, including his wife and vice president, for helping the socialist leader “plunder” the nation’s wealth. Furthermore, officials have repeatedly said that further measures are under consideration, including an embargo on Venezuelan oil. As part of these efforts on 1 November, President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed a disrupting Venezuela’s gold exports.

Whether Venezuela would be added to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, or not, however is not clear, yet. Even though discussions on the issue have moved forward in recent days with strong lobbying from Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who has long pressed the administration to take a tougher stand against the Venezuelan government, a time frame for a decision had not yet been determined.

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