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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Venezuela Expels US Envoys in Response to Sanctions

Politics

7Dnews London - Reuters

Wed, 23 May 2018 17:14 GMT

Two top US diplomats have been ordered to leave Venezuela. The expulsion comes in retaliation for a new series of sanctions imposed by Trump over Venezuela's highly controversial election, accusing them of a 'conspiracy' that was denied by the State Department.

The United States, the European Union, and most major Latin American nations have all said Sunday's vote did not meet democratic standards. Critics worldwide said the vote was riddled with irregularities, from denying two popular opposition rivals the right to field candidates to the offering of a government "prize" to voters. 

President Donald Trump responded on Monday with an executive order limiting Venezuela's ability to sell state assets. 

Accusing US charge d'affaires Todd Robinson of being involved in "a military conspiracy," Maduro ordered him and another senior diplomat, Brian Naranjo, to leave within 48 hours. 

He gave no details of the accusations but said the US Embassy had been meddling in the military, economic and political affairs of the country, and vowed to present evidence shortly. 

"Neither with conspiracies nor with sanctions will you hold Venezuela back," Maduro said, at an event in downtown Caracas at the headquarters of the election board. 

The US State Department rejected Maduro's "false allegations" against the two diplomats, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at a news briefing in Washington. 

Robinson gave a brief speech at a public appearance on Tuesday afternoon in Venezuela's western city of Merida. "We energetically reject the accusations against me and against Brian Naranjo," said Robinson, in comments streamed live on Facebook by local media. 

"This was my first visit to Merida, but it will not be my last," added Robinson, who assumed the charge d'affaires role in December. 


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