Venezuela expels US diplomats for inciting protests
Updated: 2014-02-18 11:07
"All these diplomats are required to leave from our sovereign and independent homeland of Venezuela in the next 48 hours for actively being involved in the organization and promotion of these groups that now intend to generate violence in our country," Foreign Minister Elias Jaua told a press conference.
Jaua said three U.S. consular officers had used the "cover" of granting visas to private university students to meet with them, and instigate protests and unrest in the country.
Violent protests in Caracas since February 12 have left three people dead and over 70 injured. The demonstrators demanded the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro and the release of jailed protesters.
Student demonstrators promised to stay in the street until Maduro resigned, though the 51-year-old president vowed not to give up even a "millimeter" of power.
"The independent Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela does not accept threats, blackmail, or conditions from any force in the world. We are committed to ensuring peace and stability of all Venezuelans," Jaua said.
Thanking other countries and political parties for the international solidarity they had expressed, the foreign minister indicated that he would inform all ambassadors in Venezuela of the details about the threats made by Washington to Caracas.
The US embassy officials contacted by Xinhua were not immediately available to comment on the expulsion of the diplomats.