PANAMA CITY — Panama’s president says his country will begin requiring an entry visa for Venezuelans beginning in October as their homeland slips deeper into crisis.

President Juan Carlos Varela said Tuesday that recent events in Venezuela forced him to act to preserve Panama’s security, economy and job sources.

Varela also said Panama will regularize the status of the approximately 25,000 Venezuelans already in the country for humanitarian reasons.

He had earlier hinted that Panama would take action. The move also comes after a visit by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who has tried to rally allies in the region to increase pressure on Venezuela’s government.

Varela says it was a difficult move, but things in Venezuela have gotten worse. He cites the power grab by Venezuela’s new constitutional assembly.

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