WVN – (USN) – Panama’s government said on Tuesday that from October Venezuelans wishing to enter the country would need a visa, accusing the administration of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of undermining democracy at home and security abroad.
Speaking a few days after a visit to Panama by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, the country’s president Juan Carlos Varela said the visa requirement would take effect on Oct. 1 and remain in place until “democratic order” was restored in Venezuela.
“Given the break in the democratic order in Venezuela, a situation that puts at risk our security, our economy … and after a careful analysis, I’ve taken the decision to demand visas from Venezuelan citizens wanting to travel to Panama,” Varela said in a brief televised message to the nation.
Varela said the situation in Venezuela had deteriorated since the government decided to press ahead with a 545-member constituent assembly in the face of strong criticism from around the Americas, including the United States and Mexico.
On Friday, the assembly granted itself lawmaking powers, dealing a new blow to the opposition-controlled congress, whose decisions have been nullified by the pro-government Supreme Court.