US to expel Maduro loyalist in the US
The Trump administration is expelling dozens of officials loyal to Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro from the United States, a top administration official announced Friday.Many of the senior people in the Venezuelan government have moved their family to the US or other countries. This should put pressure on those who remain in the Maduro government to make a choice.
“Maduro supporters that abuse or violate human rights, steal from the Venezuelan people or undermine Venezuela’s democracy are not welcome in the United States,” Special Envoy Elliott Abrams told reporters at the State Department. “Neither are their family members, who enjoy a privileged lifestyle at the expense of liberty and prosperity of millions of Venezuelans.”
Abrams’ announcement follows through on a threat aired prior to last week’s attempt to deliver humanitarian aid to Venezuela in coordination with top opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom the U.S. and dozens of other countries have recognized as the interim president of the country. Maduro blocked the deliveries, and now, U.S. officials will revoke the visas of Maduro's top officials and their families in an attempt to fracture the unity of the regime leadership.
The U.S. hopes the visa restrictions will weaken support for Maduro within a ruling class that has long benefited from a “double-standard” relative to the Venezuelan people, reaping the rewards of loyalty even as the economic and political crisis deepened.