Recently re-elected (TNB) President Nicolas Maduro has expelled the two top U.S. Diplomats from Venezuela, in response to the criticism of his elections from the United States State Department.
Maduro said the expulsions were “in defense of the dignity of the homeland,” and received a standing ovation from the crowd. He said the two men would have 48 hours to depart the country.
Todd Robinson, the senior staff member at the embassy, and his subordinate Brian Naranjo were also accused of interfering with the election.
The official position of the United States is to not recognize the elections as valid, and pursuant to that issued oil sanctions on the country on Monday. (Reuters)
The United States is not the only country to criticize the elections. An example from Argentina:
“Taking into account the lack of legitimacy of the electoral process, we do not recognise the results”, Argentina’s Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said, adding that the polling “excluded the participation of some political actors”. (UK Independent)
Now ties are strained again, as Spain is calling for E.U. sanctions. (Diplomat)
The expulsion of diplomats is a standard tactic used by Maduro. Venezuela is facing a crisis, following an election during which opposition leaders were suppressed. It is formerly one of the wealthiest countries in South America, and sanctions have been placed on Maduro in an effort to keep him from bleeding what wealth remains into private accounts.