Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Saturday that travelers from the U.S. will now have to get tourist visas if they want to visit the country, the Associated Press reported. Maduro also said Venezuela will shrink the size of the U.S. embassy staff in Caracas.
For those wishing to visit Venezuela, this means a new fee, which must be paid in dollars. Still, not many people may actually be affected, the AP reports:
Americans have been staying away from Venezuela as crime has soared, exchange rates have become difficult to navigate and Maduro has stepped up attacks on the U.S. government. Just 36,000 U.S. citizens visited in the first nine months of 2014, about half the number that visited two years earlier, according to Venezuela Tourism Ministry data. Overall, some 950,000 foreigners visited Venezuela last year.
Maduro specifically blamed the new changes on “gringo” meddling and the need for more national security. And of course, this all comes after relations between the U.S. and Venezuela have been deteriorating for years.
— Jim Dalrymple II