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Maduro: US decision to declare Venezuela national security threat "colossal mistake"

March 13, 2015, 6:06 UTC+3 MEXICO CITY
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MEXICO CITY, March 13. /TASS/. Washington’s decision to declare Venezuela a national security threat will cost the US government a lot, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday at a demonstration in the country’s capital Caracas.

Maduro called the move a "colossal mistake" and promised to retaliate. The decision to declare Venezuela a threat to US national security is aggressive and unjust, Maduro said.

"The only national security threat for the US is the decisions of its leadership that set a course toward war," the Venezuelan president added.

Earlier, US President Barack Obama said Venezuela presents a threat to US national security and sanctioned seven Venezuelan officials who participated in human rights abuses at last year’s anti-government demonstrations.

"US declared us a security threat because Venezuelan justice system sent to jail their main agent in Venezuela," Maduro said. Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is an "anti-patriotic US agent," the president added.

Maduro earlier requested expanded presidential powers in order to counter US "threats." If the request is approved, the Venezuelan president will be able to enact laws for up to six months with consulting the National Assembly.

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