US will pay heavy price, warns Venezuelan president

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said the US government will pay a heavy price for classifying Venezuela as a threat, Spanish news agency Efe reported.

IANS| Last Updated: Mar 13, 2015, 21:42 PM IST

Caracas: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said the US government will pay a heavy price for classifying Venezuela as a threat, Spanish news agency Efe reported.

"US has committed its biggest mistake in history by declaring Venezuela a threat and it is going to cost them dearly in the political, diplomatic and human realms," Maduro said on Thursday from the Miraflores presidential palace after an anti-imperialist march.

US President Barack Obama issued an executive order on Monday declaring Venezuela a national threat over the "extraordinary risk" that the Venezuelan situation posed for US security.

Washington`s move includes freezing assets that seven Venezuelan officials may hold in US jurisdictions, and banning them from US territory.

The US government has accused these officials of human rights violations during anti-government protests in Venezuela in 2014.

Maduro described Obama`s decision as the most aggressive step ever taken by a US president against Venezuela.

He suggested the US, with a government that sends its people off to war, is a threat to itself.

Maduro said that the sanctions imposed on the Venezuelan officials are in response to the arrest of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, imprisoned now for over a year.

Lopez was charged with inciting violence in an anti-government march in early 2014.

According to Maduro, he is an anti-nationalist agent of the US and a repeat offender.

Maduro declared this time of escalating tensions an important period in Venezuela`s Bolivian Revolution, one of the most important since the death of its founder, his predecessor Hugo Chavez.

Following the announcement of sanctions, Maduro urged the Venezuelan parliament to grant him special powers to legislate for six months, to confront the threat posed by the US.

Parliament is expected to approve such powers this coming Sunday.

This latest development continues the difficult relationship between the two countries since late 2010 when they withdrew their respective ambassadors.