Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Venezuela's Maduro orders expulsion of top United States diplomats

"The empire doesn't dominate us here" President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela said in a televised address announcing the move
Shannon Reynolds | 23 May, 2018, 19:55

Maduro declared Chargé d'Affaires Todd Robinson and his deputy Brian Naranjo "persona non grata " and gave them 48 hours to leave the country during a televised address Tuesday in which he denounced the "offensive" USA sanctions, which he said violated worldwide law and caused greater harm and suffering for the Venezuelan people.

In a televised announcement Tuesday, Maduro told the top USA diplomat and his deputy in Venezuela they had 48 hours to leave the country.

Maduro announced the move in a nationally televised speech on Tuesday after being officially proclaimed the victor of Sunday's election.

On 20 May, elections took place in Venezuela with the highest abstention rate in a presidential election in the country over the last decades.

He gave no details of the accusations, but said the U.S. Embassy had been meddling in military, economic and political issues, and vowed to present evidence shortly. "Enough conspiracies", Maduro said. "America stands against dictatorship and with the people of Venezuela".

Trump's executive order Monday tightens pre-existing sanctions against the leftist regime.

"The parties involved must respect the decision of the Venezuelan people", said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang at a press conference in Beijing on Monday.

Venezuelans are reeling under an acute crisis with hyperinflation projected by the International Monetary Fund to reach 13,800 percent this year and dire shortages of food and medicine.

Maduro expelled U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Todd Robinson from the nation
Maduro expelled U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Todd Robinson from the nation

The bloc of countries expressed its preoccupation for the rise in Venezuelans fleeing from their country, and announced that they would have a meeting in the first fortnight of June in order to discuss potential solutions.

The European Union said it was also weighing new sanctions after the election was marred by "irregularities" and failed to meet global standards.

A number of countries, including the United States and Canada, have refused to recognize Maduro's victory in the Sunday election.

"Venezuela is beginning to suffer an economic boycott by the United States and its allies, and this is going to be fatal to the regime", political analyst Carlos Romero told AFP.

On Monday an global observer mission led by the Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America (CEELA), comprised of former top electoral officials from throughout the region, said the election was clean.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was elected to a second term Sunday with 6.2 million votes, beating out his closest rival Henri Falcon, who garnered just 1.9 million votes.

Naranjo, the deputy chief of mission at the embassy, had already been scheduled to leave Venezuela soon.

"Never have we witnessed an worldwide attack as bad as the one that characterized this process", she said.

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