Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday ordered the expulsion of two top US diplomats in Caracas in retaliation for a new round of sanctions over Venezuela's widely-condemned election, accusing them of a ‘conspiracy' that was denied by the State Department.
The United States, European Union and most major Latin American nations have all said Sunday's vote did not meet democratic standards.
Maduro, the 55-year-old successor to Hugo Chavez, won re-election easily, but critics said the vote was riddled with irregularities, from the barring of two popular opposition rivals to the offering of a government "prize" to voters.
US President Donald Trump responded on Monday with an executive order limiting Venezuela's ability to sell state assets.
Accusing US charge d'affaires Todd Robinson of being involved in "a military conspiracy," Maduro ordered him and another senior diplomat, Brian Naranjo, to leave within 48 hours.
He gave no details of the accusations, but said the US Embassy had been meddling in military, economic and political issues, and vowed to present evidence shortly.
"Neither with conspiracies nor with sanctions will you hold Venezuela back," Maduro said, at an event in downtown Caracas at the headquarters of the election board.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team