HAVANA TIMES — The United States expelled three Venezuelan diplomats in response to the same action taken against three members of the US Embassy in Caracas, reported dpa news on Wednesday.
Among those expelled is Calixto Ortega, Charge d’Affaires, the highest ranking official at the embassy, as the two countries do not have relations at the ambassadorial level. All three have 48 hours to leave the United States.
The State Department described as “baseless” the allegations made by President Nicolas Maduro against the US diplomats and described as “regrettable” the decision by Venezuela.
A few days ago, Maduro expelled the three Americans after accusing them of participating in sabotage activities in order to destabilize his government.
In a ceremony with a military command in the west of the country on Monday, Maduro said: “Yankees go home! Out of Venezuela!”
He also gave the diplomats 48 hours to leave the country. These were charge d’affaires, Kelly Keiderling, Elizabeth Hunderland and David Mutt, whom he accused of having met with “the extreme right” to encourage them “to sabotage the electrical system and Venezuela’s economy”.
Maduro added: “and I have evidence here in my hand.”
Back in March, Venezuela had expelled two military attaches, after which the United States did the same with two Venezuelan representatives.
The deteriorating relations were also affected recently by an incident in which US authorities temporarily prohibited a plane that would take Maduro en route to China from flying over its territory.