Venezuela expels US envoy
Caracas, May 23: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday that he had ordered the chief of mission at the US Embassy in Caracas to leave the country within 48 hours. Maduro accused US charge d’affaires Todd Robinson of acting as a “conspirator” in Venezuela and declared the diplomat persona non grata, Efe reported.
Maduro made the announcement during the act in which he was proclaimed re-elected president, following Sunday’s widely questioned election results which Washington does not recognize. The expulsion order also included the head of political affairs at the US Embassy, Brian Naranjo, who together with Robinson must exit Venezuela within 48 hours. “Enough with the conspiracies,” said the leftist president after making the announcement before a part of his executive staff, who accompanied him to the seat of the National Electoral Council (CNE) where he was to receive his credentials to remain in power until 2025.
The President accused Robinson of “violating international law in the most shameless way,” adding that he has the evidence to prove it and will later reveal all the facts of the conspiracy. He said the Foreign Ministry had warned the diplomat “more than 10 times, in private, in public, in writing, verbally,” but, he added, the American never stopped and kept behaving like an “active conspirator.”
Robinson has been less than a year in Caracas and is the highest US representative in Venezuela, given that both countries have not exchanged ambassadors for eight years as a result of the conflicts in diplomatic relations since the so-called Bolivarian Revolution began in the South American nation in 1999. The US, like many countries, did not accept Maduro’s victory in the recent election, which was boycotted by Venezuela’s main opposition coalition.
The Donald Trump administration on Monday imposed new economic sanctions on the Maduro government banning US citizens or companies from buying Venezuelan debt and the liquidation of Venezuelan assets in US territory. In Maduro’s opinion, these sanctions “offend the national dignity, do harm and cause suffering among the people.” (IANS)