WASHINGTON – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will be allowed to enter US territory in September if he wants to attend the UN General Assembly session in New York, despite the sanctions imposed on him by the US government this week preventing him from entering this country, a top State Department official told EFE on Tuesday.
“Of course” he will be allowed to enter US territory, the deputy assistant secretary for Andean, Brazilian and Southern Cone Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Fitzpatrick, told EFE.
Fitzpatrick commented upon being asked about the possibility of Maduro attending the UN session.
As the host nation for the UN, the US has global agreements with the international body to respect the presence of representatives from many countries. Everything depends on the circumstances at the moment, but this is Washington’s stance on the matter, said Fitzpatrick, who oversees US policy toward Venezuela.
The sanctions the Donald Trump administration imposed on Maduro on Monday not only freeze any assets the Venezuelan leader has under US jurisdiction but also prohibit his entry into this country.
On Monday, the State Department had said only that if Maduro wanted to travel to the US, it would “review” his visa request according to US legal requirements, taking into account US obligations as the UN host nation.
The president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, for years has been subject to the same sanctions as Maduro and has been able to travel to attend UN sessions several times, including last year.
Maduro is tentatively scheduled to deliver a speech before the General Assembly on the third day of its annual plenary session on Sept. 21.
Fitzpatrick defended the sanctions imposed on Maduro, which some have considered to be merely symbolic given that it is not clear whether or not the Venezuelan leader has any assets in the US.
Maduro is now the member of a “very exclusive club,” Fitzpatrick said, noting that the presidents of Zimbabwe, Syria (Bashar al Assad) and North Korea (Kim Jong-un) are also on the list of sanctioned leaders.