• Venezuela and Uruguay Say: Steer Clear of the Dangerous USA

    Surge Summary: In what looks to be an absurd overreaction following a weekend of mass-shootings in the U.S., Venezuela and Uruguay urge their people to avoid travel to America. 

    Over a week ago, two mass shootings killed 31 people and injured dozens more in the United States, and the response from two major South American nations? Mairead McArdle reports, Venezuela and Uruguay have issued travel warnings to their people planning to visit the United States.

    “We warn Venezuelans, living in or aiming to travel to the U.S., to be extra careful or to postpone their travel, given the recent proliferation of violent acts and hate crimes,” President Nicolas Maduro wrote Monday evening on Twitter.

    “These growing acts of violence have found echo and sustenance in the speeches and actions impregnated with racial discrimination and hatred against migrant populations, pronounced and executed from the supremacist elite who hold political power in Washington,” Venezuela’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

    No, don’t be confused, those are not the words of Democratic presidential candidates – but of Venezuelan government officials – issued as their fellow citizens stream across their nation’s border heading north, seeking refuge in the USA.

    The journeyers, though, don’t seem to be as concerned about the trip as their Maduro-appointed overlords.

    President Trump issued an executive order freezing all Venezuelan government assets and prohibiting Americans from doing business with the country’s government except in special cases, mere hours after issue of the anti-American travel notice. As the reasons for the embargo, the President cited

    the “continued usurpation of power by the illegitimate Nicolas Maduro regime” and Venezuela’s “human rights abuses, arbitrary arrest and detention of Venezuelan citizens, curtailment of free press, and ongoing attempts to undermine Interim President Juan Guaido of Venezuela and the democratically-elected Venezuelan National Assembly”.

    Earlier Monday, Uruguay uncorked its own travel alert advising citizens “to avoid areas with large concentrations of people like theme parks, shopping centers, art festivals, religious events, food festivals and any kind of cultural or sporting gathering.”

    That South American country’s statement borders on the hilariously hysterical: among millions of crowded activities happening in America every day, everywhere one looks, in fact, two terrible events occur over the course of one weekend and Uruguay advises: Steer clear of “large concentrations of people!” What next? Don’t go outside, you might get hit by lighting. Don’t fly, drive or walk, for that matter – you could suffer an accident. Breathing? That’s out, too. Air pollution.

    Montevideo’s warning came after the U.S. issued a travel advisory for Uruguay on Friday, citing a recent increase in violent crime in the South American country.

    So, some it-for-tat is at work in all this? It’s hard to pretend there isn’t. An opportunity for these Latino lands to poke a thumb in the eye of the Yanqui giant? That seems plausible motivation, in part at least, as well.

    Venezuela, as is well known, is a socialist basket case.  Uruguay, by most accounts and by contrast, is a comfortable nation with a solid, middle class economy. Still, the U.S. arguably remains the most desirable locale on the planet in which to put down roots.

    Considering the immigration chaos currently bedeviling America, the Venezuelan and Uruguayan governments’ “don’t travel to the U.S.” gambit might serve the Republic’s interests. That doesn’t, however, make the two nations’ hand-wringing any less risible.

    photo credit: Natalia Medd <a

    href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/137731904@N05/48041313871″>Strangers</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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