Venezuela said Monday that three U.S. diplomats have 48 hours to leave the country, accusing them of conspiring against its government.
The State Department fired back, calling that claim “baseless and false” and saying the United States had not yet received any formal notification of the officials’ expulsion. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua accused the U.S. officials of using a visa program as a cover to meet with youth organizers at private universities “for training, financing and creating youth organizations through which violence is promoted in Venezuela”.
The expulsion, which President Nicolas Maduro first announced Sunday, comes after the State Department expressed concerns about rising tensions in Venezuela.
Three anti-government protesters died in clashes last week in Caracas, and authorities have issued an arrest warrant for opposition leader Leopold Lopez on charges including conspiracy and murder in connection with the violence.