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Chavez Promotes Expelled Venezuelan Diplomat


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has promoted a diplomat who was thrown out of the United States in retaliation for Venezuela's expulsion of a U.S. official accused of spying.

President Chavez told reporters Friday in Caracas that Jeny Figueredo Frias has been named deputy foreign minister for Europe. The president was quoted by Reuters as saying the move is in recognition of Figueredo's work and what she means for Venezuela.

Figueredo served as chief of staff to the Venezuelan ambassador in Washington when she was ordered to leave the United States. She was not accused of wrongdoing, but State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the U.S. had been "forced to respond."

Figueredo was ordered out after Venezuela expelled naval Captain John Correa for spying. The State Department says none of the military attachés at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas has been involved in any inappropriate activity.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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