Venezuela Rejects Trump's Renewal of Obama "Extraordinary Threat" Designation

Originally approved by President Obama in 2015, Executive Order 13692 brands Venezuela a national security "threat" and authorizes U.S. sanctions. 

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The controversial executive order declares a "national emergency with respect to the situation in Venezuela".
The controversial executive order declares a "national emergency with respect to the situation in Venezuela". (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

Venezuela issued a statement Saturday slamming the Trump administration for its renewal of an executive order branding the South American country an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to U.S. national security.

"The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounces the continued aggression of the U.S. regime by extending the executive order that qualifies Venezuela as an 'unusual and extraordinary threat' to U.S. security," reads the text of a communique issued by Venezuela's Foreign Ministry.

On Friday, the White House opted to renew for a third time Executive Order 13692, which was originally signed by President Barack Obama on March 8, 2015. The decree declares a "national emergency with respect to the situation in Venezuela" and authorizes the application of U.S. sanctions.

Caracas hit back at Washington, describing the latest executive order as intended to "promote and justify the overthrow of the legitimate and constitutionally elected government of President Nicolas Maduro."

"By extending the executive order, the U.S. regime intends to present itself as a victim, when the entire world recognizes it as the great victimizer. Washington assumes aggression and has transformed the world into an increasingly insecure place, which represents a real threat to international peace and security."

Renewing the executive order, the statement continues, is a "crime of aggression punishable by international law" that seeks to encourage foreign intervention in Venezuela's affairs and sway the outcome of May 20 elections.

At the same time, Bolivian President Evo Morales posted a message on Twitter deriding the U.S. government's latest gesture against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

"The United States qualifies our sister Venezuela as a 'threat,' but with the United States' background of financing coups, manipulating elections in 81 countries and killing hundreds of thousands with atomic bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the United States is the real threat to the world," Morales wrote.

The renewal of the executive order comes as the Trump administration says it is “considering a lot of different economic and diplomatic options in dealing with Venezuela.”

“We have said we are considering all options to restore democracy to Venezuela, including individual and potentially financial sanctions,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press conference on Thursday.

Edited and with additional reporting by