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The US has announced that three Venezuelan diplomats have 48 hours to leave the country, according to a statement made by a State Department spokesperson. The move was explicitly in response to the decision by the government of Venezuela to expel three American diplomats, among them the country’s Chargé d’Affairs, Kelly Keiderling. In turn, the US will now expel Venezuela’s head of business affairs, Calixto Ortega, along with Marisol Gutierrez de Almeida from its Houston consulate, and Mónica Alejandra Sánchez Morales, who is currently assigned to the country’s Washington embassy. President Maduro this week accused US embassy officials of meeting with far-right opposition members in Bolivar state and encouraging acts of sabotage against the country’s electrical system, which suffered a massive blackout impacting some 70 percent of the country in early September. The US embassy in Caracas rejected Venezuela’s allegations of conspiracy, saying the diplomats’ trip to Bolivar state was a ‘normal diplomatic engagement...and should come as no surprise.’
US expels three Venezuelan diplomats in tit-for-tat (RT News, Oct. 2 2013)

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