VENEZUELA: US envoy expelled in response to sanctions

Sherman Parsons
May 26, 2018

Maduro declared Charge d'Affaires Todd Robinson and Consul General Brian Naranjo persona non grata and gave them 48 hours to leave the country, claiming they'd conspired against Venezuela.

"Technically, up until today, we have not observed any element that could disqualify the electoral process", said CEELA President Nicanor Moscoso in a press conference.

The Organization of American States (OAS) does not recognize the results of Sunday's presidential election in Venezuela, Luis Almagro, the organization's secretary general, said Tuesday, stressing the need for transitional government in the Latin American country.

I agree. Western democracies and Venezuela's domestic opposition should act fast, because - despite Venezuela's economic collapse - time may be running in Maduro's favor. Most opposition parties decided not to participate after officials blocked their most popular leaders from competing.

The deeply unpopular Maduro was declared the victor with 68 percent of the vote, but 52 percent of voters did not cast ballots - a historic abstention rate.

"The United States will not sit idly by as Venezuela crumbles and the misery of their courageous people continues", he added.

On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order restricting U.S.

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Venezuela expels US envoy

He promised to present "evidence" that both diplomats were engaged in a political, military and economic "conspiracy".

There was no immediate reaction from Robinson or the USA embassy in Caracas.

Fourteen countries including Argentina, Brazil and Canada recalled their ambassadors from Caracas in protest. More obstacles to PDVSA's ability to sell oil overseas could restrict already-dwindling foreign exchange earnings, worsening the economic crisis and pressuring Maduro.

Venezuelans are reeling under an acute crisis with hyperinflation projected by the International Monetary Fund to reach 13,800 percent this year and dire shortages of food and medicine.

The bloc of countries expressed its preoccupation for the rise in Venezuelans fleeing from their country, and announced that they would have a meeting in the first fortnight of June in order to discuss potential solutions.

Maduro does run an increasingly autocratic government that's been hit by U.S. sanctions, however, so that makes him easy to relate to for Pyongyang.

Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza responded forcefully to the latest round of USA sanctions, which follow hard on the heels of socialist candidate Nicolas Maduro's Sunday electoral victory.

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