Venezuela Expels U.S. Diplomats

Consular officials accused of conspiring with opposition protesters

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Juan Barreto / AFP / Getty Images

Anti-government students holding a protest sit on the street, in Caracas on February 16, 2014.

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has accused three U.S. consular officials of conspiring with opposition forces engaged in violent protests across the country, and vowed to expel them.

“We are determined to defend our country,” said Maduro in a televised speech on Sunday.

Initiated by people upset with the South American nation’s struggling economy and high murder rate, the now two-week-long protests have claimed at least three lives. Opposition leader Leopoldo López will lead a march on Tuesday despite an arrest warrant on charges of murder and terrorism.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says his government is “deeply concerned by rising tensions and violence” and “particularly alarmed” by Caracas’s arrest warrant for Lopez. The State Department said Monday that it had not received “any formal notification” of U.S. officials being expelled from Venezuela.

“The allegations that the United States is helping to organize protestors in Venezuela is baseless and false,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. “We support human rights and fundamental freedoms—including freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly—in Venezuela as we do in countries around the world. But as we have long said, Venezuela’s political future is for the Venezuelan people to decide.”

Venezuela has a long tradition of expelling diplomats from the U.S., a country with which it has not shared ambassador-level links since 2010.

[USA Today]

4 comments
jjosie
jjosie

Venezuelans voted for this bus driver!  Now they wonder what's happening? You vote for it now enjoy it.

austintexas61
austintexas61

Brazil has no reason to go to the aid of Venezuela.  The semi communist government of Maduro has created their own problems.   Expelling American diplomats is a red herring.  The Venezuelan government cannot face the fact that their country is out of control due to their own incompetence.  Their attempts to place blame on American diplomats is pathetic, but to be expected.  Venezuela once had a president by the name of Romulo Betancourt.  He was truly a democratic leader, who managed to deal with leftist elements in his country.  He must be rolling in his grave at the mess that the current government finds itself in.  The Castro wannabees in power (Chavez-Maduro) have had their chances.   The opposition can probably do a better job at governing.  After all, it can't be worse than what they're facing at the moment.  

timeecho
timeecho

They are oil and mineral rich. If the US would stop trying to save the world Brazil could go in and save the venezualans.

Collgab
Collgab

@jjosie  You honestly think that fair elections in Venezuela exist?