CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela will shrink the size of the U.S. Embassy staff, limit the activities of U.S. diplomats and require American citizens to apply for visas if they want to come bask on the beach.
Speaking before a crowd that rallied to protest imperialism, President Nicolas Maduro said Saturday that “gringo” meddling had forced him to adopt the series of restrictive measures, which include requiring U.S. diplomats to seek approval from the Foreign Ministry for meetings they conduct here.
Maduro said he was imposing the new tourist visa requirement for national security reasons, saying that in recent days authorities had detained several U.S. citizens who he alleged were involved in espionage, including an American pilot.
The president and other officials gave no specific information on any Americans in custody, and the U.S. Embassy did not respond to a request for comment. Earlier in the day, Venezuela released four missionaries from North Dakota who had been detained several days ago for unknown reasons. They were banned from coming back for two years.