Venezuela “simply will not engage in cordial relations nor in cordial communications” with the United States, until Washington understands it must respect our sovereign country, President Nicolás Maduro warned on Monday in a national cadena.
Maduro began the week by kicking out the top US diplomat and two embassy staffers for alleged sabotage of the Andean country’s economy. Kelly Keiderling, Washington’s acting chargé d’affaires, along with Elizabeth Hunderland and David Mutt “have 48 hours to leave the country,” Maduro said on state television.
“Get out of Venezuela. Yankee go home!” he hurled. There is “evidence” that these US Embassy officials encouraged acts of “sabotage [to] the power system and the economy” in connection with the opposition and other traitors of the revolution, Maduro pushed.
“We completely reject the Venezuelan government’s allegations of U.S. government involvement in any type of conspiracy to destabilize the Venezuelan government,” the US Embassy in Caracas said in a statement. The White House and Miraflores have not had respective ambassadors since 2010, making Keiderling the most senior US diplomat in Venezuela.
Henrique Capriles Radonski, the opposition’s candidate who lost the presidency by a narrow margin to Maduro last Spring, labeled the expulsions as a “smoke screen” to mask this Administration’s economic failures.
Las alertas del chimbón en Miraflores nadie se las cree,puro humo para tapar que no puede con el país! #Cambio8D
— Henrique Capriles R. (@hcapriles) September 30, 2013