President Nicolas Maduro ordered the expulsion of the top USA diplomat in Venezuela following a new round of sanctionsimposed by Washington over his re-election.
Maduro from power. The United States could impose sanctions on what is left of Venezuela's oil exports, but that move risks harming the already suffering Venezuelan people even more.
The Lima Group released a group declaration on Monday announcing that they do not recognise the legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro's elections in Venezuela "for not fulfilling global standards of a democratic, free, fair and transparent process".
"And using my faculties as president of the republic, I've declared persona non grata and announce the removal in 48 hours of the charge d'affairs of the United States of America, Todd Robinson, and the chief of the political section, Brian Naranjo".
He specifically spoke about USA diplomat's involvement in the conspiracies against the country saying, "We will present evidence to the country of the conspiracy in the military field of the United States charge d'affaires and his embassy, of the conspiracy in the economic field and of the conspiracy in the political field".
Maduro said the expulsions were "in defense of the dignity of the homeland", and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
The United Nations has estimated that almost 1 million Venezuelans the country left between 2015 and 2017.
The US has not had a serving ambassador in Venezuela for eight years and Mr Robinson is its most senior representative. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who has repeatedly pushed for a tougher U.S. response on Venezuela, declared in Spanish on Twitter that "now there is no doubt that there is not an electoral exit".
It appears to target in part Citgo [PDVSAC.UL], a US -based oil refiner owned by Venezuela state oil company PDVSA [PDVSA.UL]. Major obstacles to the participation of opposition political parties and their leaders, an unbalanced composition of the National Electoral Council, biased electoral conditions, numerous reported irregularities during the Election Day, including vote buying, stood in the way of fair and equitable elections.
In a statement released Monday, the group vowed to recall their ambassadors to Caracas for consultations and present a new resolution on Venezuela at the next meeting of the Organization of American States. Turnout for the election was under 50 percent, compared to 80 percent in 2013.
The US administration also declined to recognize the election and said that it would actively consider oil sanctions on the country. The two countries have provided billions of dollars in funding for Venezuela in recent years.
Most analysts say that Venezuela's economic troubles that have caused food and medicine shortages are the result of falling oil prices and the government's economic mismanagement.
Beyond that, the USA has few good options for forcing Mr.
Moreover the Venezuela's foreign ministry released a statement referring to the U.S. sanctions "a crime against humanity".
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