Venezuela slams US travel restrictions as 'political terrorism'

Venezuela on Monday accused U.S. President Donald Trump of conducting "political terrorism" through travel restrictions on eight countries including the socialist-run South American nation, which is already at loggerheads with Washington.

Trump on Sunday announced the restrictions on citizens from North Korea, Venezuela and Chad, expanding earlier travel bans that Trump says are necessary to fight terrorism but have been derided by critics and courts.

"It is worth pointing out that these types of lists are incompatible with international law, and constitute a form of psychological and political terrorism," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"Our people are being sanctioned because of their pacifist nature as well as their tolerance and respect for different religions and beliefs," it added.

The statement said Venezuela will "consider all necessary measures to protect national interests and sovereignty," without providing details on how it would respond.

The restrictions related to Venezuela focus on officials who have been determined to have done an inadequate job verifying whether citizens pose national security or public safety threats.

Washington this year has issued several rounds of sanctions against Venezuelan officials, partly in response to the creation of a legislative superbody called the Constituent Assembly that critics call the consolidation of a dictatorship.

President Nicolas Maduro has called those sanctions a financial blockade against the country, which is grappling with triple-digit inflation and chronic product shortages as its economy unravels.

The text of the U.S. travel restrictions released on Sunday mentions officials at agencies including the Interior Ministry, the investigative police known as CICPC, the Saime passport and identification office, as well as the Foreign Ministry.

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol already was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in July, along with 12 other current or former officials accused of undermining democracy.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by W Simon)