- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - The U.S. Embassy in Caracas is suspending appointments for Venezuelans seeking first-time tourist and business visas due to staff shortages it blames on President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

The Embassy says on its website that it will no longer take appointments. But it says it will continue to provide a limited number of slots for Venezuelans renewing visas and other applicants.

The Embassy says Venezuela’s foreign ministry for months has refused to issue visas for U.S. Embassy personnel, leading to a staff shortage that’s caused a large backlog of unprocessed applications. It’s also prevented visits by technicians to maintain the consulate’s computer systems.

Maduro last year ordered the U.S. to slash Embassy staffing in retaliation for what he said was efforts to destabilize his rule.


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