News / Americas

Venezuela Expels Top US Diplomat for Fomenting 'Sabotage'

In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro speaks to soldiers inside a military base in Coro, Venezuela, Sept. 30, 2013.
In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro speaks to soldiers inside a military base in Coro, Venezuela, Sept. 30, 2013.
Reuters
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Monday he was expelling the top U.S. diplomat in the South American nation and two others, accusing them of meeting with opposition leaders and encouraging “acts of sabotage” against his country.
 
It was the latest of several public disputes between the socialist leader and the United States since Maduro won an April election following the death of his mentor and predecessor Hugo Chavez.
 
Maduro said Venezuelan authorities had for months followed the three U.S. diplomats, and that he had now given them 48 hours to leave the OPEC member country.
 
“We detected a group of U.S. embassy officials dedicated to meeting the far-right and to financing and encouraging acts of sabotage against the electrical system and Venezuela's economy,” the president said in a televised speech.
 
“I have the proof here in my hands,” Maduro added. “... Yankees go home! Get out of Venezuela! Get out of here! I don't care what actions the government of Barack Obama takes.”
 
He said Venezuela was expelling Kelly Keiderling, who as U.S. charge d'affaires is the senior American diplomat in Venezuela because the United States has no ambassador to the country. According to a U.S. Embassy website, she has been assigned to Caracas since July 2011 as deputy chief of mission, and was temporarily serving as the charge d'affaires.
 
Venezuela identified the other two diplomats as Elizabeth Hunderland and David Mutt. The U.S. Embassy had no immediate comment or confirmation regarding the expulsions.
 
“I'm not going to allow any action that stirs violence in this country,” Maduro added.
 
Responding to the expulsion of the three U.S. diplomats, opposition leader Henrique Capriles said no one believed the “joke alerts” being issued by Maduro's team.
 
“It's just smoke to cover up that they can't manage the country,” Capriles, who contested the election result after losing to Maduro in April, said on Twitter.
 
Six months ago, Maduro expelled two U.S. military attaches hours before announcing Chavez's death from cancer, later saying that one of them was trying to stir up a coup against Chavez.
 
Maduro has also suggested Chavez's illness could have been caused by his enemies, including the United States. The United States and others called that allegation absurd.
 
Since then, the president has loudly denounced a U.S.-led “economic war” that has led to product shortages and blackouts.
 
His critics say those problems are the result of an inefficient currency control system that encourages corruption, as well as under-investment in the country's creaking power grid.
 
In the most recent diplomatic spat, Venezuela accused Washington of “aggression” this month after Maduro's plane was briefly blocked from flying over Puerto Rico en route to China.
 
The U.S. government said it nevertheless approved the flight plan, which had not been properly submitted by Caracas.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama had said after Chavez's death that he hoped for a “constructive relationship” after years of bilateral tensions.
 
But the United States and others have found it difficult to engage with the government, or opposition, without opening themselves up to accusations of meddling in the OPEC nation.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Ecuador Is Prime Example at Heart of Pope's Climate Stance

Pope Francis begins his South America tour this weekend in country that is prime example of tensions between politics, business and environment
More

Experts: US-Cuba Moves Likely to Deepen N Korea’s Isolation

Korea University professor sees US-Cuba normalization as 'quite an ideological eye-opener' for Pyongyang, a longtime Havana ally
More

Pope to Tour 3 South American Countries

Grueling, week-long trip will showcase Francis at his unpredictable best: speaking his native Spanish on his home turf about issues closest to his heart
More

Congress Aims to Keep Bans on Dealing with Cuban Military

Proposed legislation would ban Americans from engaging in any financial transactions with the Cuban military or the Cuban Ministry of the Interior
More

Video Rapprochement Opens New, Uncertain Chapter in US-Cuba Relations

Change is result of months of secret negotiations that culminated in December with decision to resume ties, but critics say nothing has changed in Cuba’s human rights record
More

Pirates and Hold-ups: Crime Strikes Venezuela's Oil Industry

National crime pandemic is a growing headache for the oil industry, which accounts for nearly all of the country's export revenues
More