Venezuela expels 2 U.S. diplomats after new sanctions
23 May 2018, 10:56 ( 23 May, 2018)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday ordered the expulsion of two top U.S. diplomats, saying they must "leave the country in 48 hours."
The president declared the U.S. charge d'affaires Todd Robinson and deputy head of mission Brian Naranjo as "personae non gratae."
The announcement was made during his televised speech after being proclaimed the winner of Sunday's presidential election.
"They must leave the country in 48 hours, in protest and in defense of the dignity of the Venezuelan nation. Enough conspiracies," Maduro said. He also instructed Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza to ensure the two diplomats will leave as ordered.
Despite the move, Maduro reiterated that he wanted the "best relations with the United States ... although this seems to be impossible."
The Venezuelan leader decided to expel the two diplomats after U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order prohibiting certain additional transactions with Venezuela.
The order targeted the Maduro government by banning all transactions by U.S. persons or companies which would acquire any debt from the Venezuelan government.
The order also bans the sale, transfer or acceptance as guarantee of any collateral in Venezuela in which the Venezuelan government or a public entity holds over 50 percent of shares.