Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Washington: Exacting revenge, the US on Wednesday decided to expel three Venezuelan diplomats a day after three American officials were accused of “sabotage” and ordered to leave the Latin American country.
The three diplomats told to leave the US within 48 hours are, include Venezuela’s top envoy in Washington, the State Department has said.
Other than charge d`affaires Calixto Ortega Rios, two other diplomats to be expelled are Second Secretary Monica Alejandra Sanchez Morales at the Washington embassy, and Consul Marisol Gutierrez de Almeida at the Houston consulate.
The retaliation by the US comes after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in a rude remark, referred to the US embassy officials as Yankees accusing them of sabotage to overthrow Venezuelan economy, telling them to leave within 48 hours.
Addressing the public in a televised speech, the President said, "The officials have 48 hours to leave the country. ... Yankees go home. Get out of Venezuela! Get out of here! I don’t care what actions the government of Barack Obama takes”.
The three US diplomats have been identified as Kelly Keiderling, Elizabeth Hunderland and David Mutt.
This is the latest spat between the Latin American country and the US since Maduro won the Presidential elections in April after the death of his mentor and predecessor Hugo Chavez.