Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s president says he’s ordering the expulsion of three U.S. consular officials.
President Nicolas Maduro made the announcement during a televised speech Sunday night that comes amid rising tensions in Venezuela over anti-government protests.
Demonstrators hold up their hands during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. Demonstrators are protesting the Wednesday killings of two university students who were shot in different incidents after an anti-government protest demanding the release of student protesters arrested in various parts of the country. (Image source: AP/Fernando Llano)
A demonstrator holds up a sign written in Spanish that reads, “There is no road to peace. Peace is the way. Awake Venezuela,” in front of a line of National Bolivarian Guards dressed in riot gear, in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. (Image source: AP/Fernando Llano)
Maduro hasn’t identified the officials but accuses them of infiltrating Venezuelan universities under the cover of doing consular work involving student visas.
The president has accused the U.S. of working with the opposition in trying to topple his socialist government. Washington denies it is trying to undermine Maduro.
A demonstrator ovecome by tear gas is carried away by fellow demonstrators after an opposition protest march ended in clashes with the Bolivarian National Guard, in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. (Image source: AP/Alejandro Cegarra)
A demonstrator shows the palms of her hands writing that reads in Spanish “Peace” during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. (Image source: AP/Fernando Llano)
Maduro also says the country’s ambassador to the Organization of American States in Washington received a phone call from the State Department warning that the arrest of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez would have negative international consequences for his government. Maduro says he won’t tolerate “threats” to Venezuela’s sovereignty.