The United States is considering enlisting Venezuela as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” but no final decision has been made by Washington yet, an informed source reportedly says.
The source told Reuters that the deliberations had moved forward in recent days with strong lobbying by junior Republican Senator Marco Rubio, himself the son of Cuban migrants and a hawk on Latin America.
The move could limit US economic assistance and impose financial restrictions on Venezuela.
The source, however, said no time frame had been determined yet for the decision on whether to designate Venezuela as a terrorism sponsor.
A US official, who also talked to Reuters under the condition of anonymity, said it would be a challenge for the US administration to provide concrete proof linking the Venezuelan government to terrorism if it decided to add Venezuela to the list.
Caracas has already been facing a series of US sanctions targeting its economy and officials since 2014 over alleged human rights abuses and threats to US national security.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said the US administration is seeking to assassinate him.
Rubio has long pressed the administration of US President Donald Trump to take a tougher stand against the Maduro government.
In a letter sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in September, Rubio and two other Republican senators called for naming Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism and accused it of links to Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), without offering any proof.
The United States has classified Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement as a “terrorist” group. Hezbollah is a resistance and political group that has aided the Lebanese military fend off Israeli aggression on Lebanon in the past.
According to The Washington Post, which first reported that the Trump administration was considering blacklisting Venezuela, the US State Department has been asking for feedback on the proposed move from various agencies in recent days.