The United States has added Venezuela to its list of countries that represent national security concerns for American exports because of foreign military personnel presence in the Latin American country, according to a new document released by the Federal Register.
“In this final ruling, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) amends the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to remove Venezuela from Country Group B, which affords favourable treatment for certain exports of National Security-controlled items, and moves Venezuela to Country Group D:1, which lists countries of national security concern”, the document said on Wednesday.
The document further explained that the downgrade was due to “the introduction of foreign military personnel and equipment into Venezuela”.
“The changes in this final rule also better align the Country Group designations for Venezuela with other EAR national security-related provisions that already apply to Venezuela, e.g., the military end-use and end-user controls that apply to certain items for export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) and provisions that are specific to countries subject to US arms embargoes”, it added.
In addition, the United States placed Venezuela on a list of countries of “nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and missile technology concern”, the document said.
The situation in Venezuela has remained tense since January when opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president. Washington and its allies endorsed Guaido and called on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down. Moreover, the United States seized billions of dollars’ worth of Venezuelan oil assets.
Maduro, in turn, has accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Guaido as its puppet and take over Venezuela’s natural resources. Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, Turkey and a number of other countries have voiced their support for constitutionally-elected Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.