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Venezuelan Foreign Minister Dismisses US Travel Ban

  • Margaret Besheer

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza speaks during a press conference on the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters, New York, Sept. 19, 2017.

Venezuela's foreign minister has dismissed his country being added to the U.S. administration's travel ban and said President Donald Trump acted like the "world's emperor" at the United Nations General Assembly last week.

"As if he were the world's emperor, President Donald Trump used this rostrum built for peace to announce war, the total destruction of member states," Jorge Arreaza Montserrat told delegates at the annual U.N. gathering, which wrapped up Monday.

Last week, Trump warned North Korea from the same lectern that its current course could lead to its "total destruction."

"Today, we must report to the world that our people have been directly threatened by the president of the United States with the use of the most powerful military force that ever existed in the history of humanity," Arreaza said.

A supporter of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro holds a placard depicting U.S. President Donald Trump during a rally in Caracas, Sept. 19, 2017.
A supporter of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro holds a placard depicting U.S. President Donald Trump during a rally in Caracas, Sept. 19, 2017.

Reaction to Trump comments

Arreaza was referring to remarks President Trump made on August 11, saying he would not rule out a "military option" in Venezuela as the regime of Nicolas Maduro consolidates power.

The United States imposed sanctions that day on President Maduro and more than two dozen other former and current Venezuelan officials.

"Venezuela will always deal with the government of the United States with mutual respect," Arreaza said. "But as a free people, we are prepared to defend our sovereignty, our independence and our democracy under any scenario and in any way."

'New aggression'

At a news conference following his speech to delegates at the U.N., the foreign minister said the Trump administration's move to add Venezuela to its expanded travel ban was a "new aggression" and intended to play to public opinion in the U.S. against the Maduro government.

Arreaza reiterated that Venezuela is not against the idea of dialogue, saying his government is looking for channels to the U.S. administration.

"We have to stop the madness and the irrationality," he said.

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