Venezuela has kicked out the top two US diplomatic representatives in the country in response to Washington’s latest round of sanctions imposed over recent election results.
On Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the expulsion of US charge d’affaires Todd Robinson and deputy head of mission Brian Naranjo and declared both of them “persona non grata.”
“They must leave the country in 48 hours in protest and in defense of the dignity of the Venezuelan homeland… Enough of conspiracies!,” he said,
Maduro made the announcement via a nationally televised speech after being officially proclaimed the winner of Sunday’s election.
On Monday, US President Donald Trump boosted sanctions against Caracas, making it harder for the country to liquidate state assets.
“I repudiate all the sanctions that are sought against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, because they harm it, they generate suffering for the people of Venezuela,” said Maduro.
We will present evidence to the country of the conspiracy in the military field of the United States charge d’affaires and his embassy, of the conspiracy in the economic field and of the conspiracy in the political field,” he added.
Venezuela’s foreign ministry released a statement referring to the sanctions “a crime against humanity.”
“Venezuela once again condemns the systematic campaign of aggression and hostility by the US regime to punish the Venezuelan people for exercising their right to vote,” read the statement.
These arbitrary and unilateral measures constitute a crime against humanity,” it added.
The US also said it would not recognize the election and would actively consider oil sanctions on the country.
Washington has already imposed sanctions against Venezuela and blamed, together with its allies in the region and elsewhere, Maduro’s government for the country’s acute economic crisis.
On Saturday, the US ramped up pressure on Caracas by imposing new sanctions against the government’s top officials.
Maduro’s government, however, said the US was using new sanctions to sabotage the election.
It called Washington’s move as part of “a systematic campaign of aggression” by President Donald Trump’s administration and said they had no legal base.