The us administration is preparing to declare Venezuela a state sponsor of terrorism, putting it close to countries such as Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
The list is reserved for governments accused of repeatedly providing "support for acts of global terrorism" and includes only Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, The Washington Post reported on Monday.
The total number of Venezuelan nationals who have fled the country since President Nicholas Maduro came to power in April 2013 exceeds four million people, local media reported, citing a research company. The State Department has shopped the move around to various agencies for feedback, including the Department of Health and Human Services, and the US Agency for International Development.More news: Cahill donates $50000 to John Moriarty Football on Socceroos, Matildas behalf
A United States official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it would be a challenge for the Trump administration to provide concrete proof linking the Maduro government to terrorism if it decides to put Venezuela on the list.
Despite sharply falling oil exports in recent years, Venezuela is the fourth-largest foreign supplier to the USA, which remains the largest purchaser of Venezuelan crude. Earlier this month, Trump signed a far-reaching executive order ostensibly meant to disrupt the country's gold exports, but which could theoretically be applied to anyone doing any business with Venezuela at all, using vague language to target those who "have directly or indirectly engaged" in "deceptive practices or corruption" involving the Venezuelan government.
The White House declined to comment.More news: Cowboys' DeMarcus Lawrence: We're One of NFL's Best Defenses
A senior U.S. official told Reuters earlier this month that the Trump administration was "looking at all potential avenues" to pressure Maduro's government.
"The regime really understands that the world is getting smaller for them".More news: President Trump pardons a turkey