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AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fraught relations between the United States and Venezuela turned openly hostile on Monday as the U.S. slapped new visa restrictions on Venezuelan officials and their families and Venezuela’s president accused Vice President Joe Biden of plotting to overthrow him.

Current and former Venezuelan officials believed to be associated with human rights abuses or corruption will be subject to the restrictions, which bars those individuals from entering the United States. In a first, the U.S. said its ban would also apply to the individuals’ immediate family members, too.

The exchange of barbs undermined hopes that the U.S. and Venezuela could pursue improved ties following a rapid deterioration of relations last year. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. was showing clearly that human rights violators and their families “are not welcome in the United States.”

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro reacted angrily, saying he would write a letter to Obama over what he called an attempt to violate Venezuela’s national sovereignty. He argued that U.S. policy toward Venezuela has been kidnapped by “irresponsible, imperial forces that are putting the United States on a dead-end” in its relations with Venezuela and the broader region.

At the same time, the U.S. dismissed as “ludicrous” Maduro’s recent claim that that Biden had conspired against him.

By BREITBART NEWS
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