Monday, February 17th 2014 - 09:35 UTC

Maduro blames Washington and expels three US consular officials

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said Sunday he was expelling three U.S. consular officials, accusing them of conspiring with the opposition forces to foment unrest as violent protests ran into a fifth straight night. The expulsions come after two weeks of sporadic protests against across the country.

“Determined to defend our country,” said Maduro on state television

 “We are determined to defend our country,” said Maduro on state television Sunday night.

Students and opposition supporters have taken to the streets, angry with the country's high murder rate and crumbling economy. Tear gas and water cannons were used in Caracas repeatedly last week to disperse troublemakers who pelted police with rocks and burned trash in the streets. At least three people have been killed in the violence.

Opposition leader Leopoldo López has backed the protests though now faces an arrest warrant on charges of murder and terrorism.

“I've got nothing to fear. I've done nothing wrong,” he said in a video released on YouTube on Sunday evening, calling for the march to be peaceful. “If there is an illegal decision to jail me, I will accept it… We're on the right side of history, the right side of justice.”

In a statement released on Saturday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the United States is “deeply concerned by rising tensions and violence surrounding this week's protests in Venezuela.”

Kerry said the administration is “particularly alarmed by reports that the Venezuelan government has arrested or detained scores of anti-government protesters and issued an arrest warrant for opposition leader Leopoldo López.”

The government here described the statement as part of Washington's attempts to “promote and legitimize the destabilization of Venezuelan democracy.”

The expulsion of U.S. diplomats is a common political maneuver here. Three U.S. diplomats were expelled in September, accused of sabotaging the country's economy. “Yankees, go home!” Maduro said definitely on state television when making the announcement.

Just hours before announcing the death of predecessor Hugo Chávez in March, Maduro expelled two U.S. diplomats, accusing them of spying. In the same televised address, he accused the United States of poisoning Chávez, who died from cancer.

The two countries have not had ambassador-level links since 2010. Maduro offered no details of who would be expelled .

31 comments Feed

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1 LEPRecon (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 09:51 am Report abuse
The desperate actions of a desperate despot.

He can blame everyone that he wants, but he is the President and the buck stops with him.

His time is running out. Maduro you would be wise to remember how most dictators end. Here is how it ended for Ceaușescu, Romania's dictator.

“Ceaușescu’s regime collapsed after he ordered his security forces to fire on antigovernment demonstrators in the city of Timișoara on 17 December 1989. The demonstrations spread to Bucharest and became known as the Romanian Revolution, which was the only violent overthrow of a Communist government during the revolutions of 1989. Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena, fled the capital in a helicopter but were captured by the armed forces. On 25 December the couple were hastily tried and convicted by a special military tribunal on charges of mass murder in a two-hour court session. Ceaușescu and his wife were then shot by a firing squad.”

Tick tock, Maduro, the fall of dictators makes such a special sound.
2 Klingon (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 09:59 am Report abuse
This is what you get, when you elect a dumb bus driver to be a president.
Unbelievable that he still has supporters.
Same mentality as the camporistas here in Argentina.
3 Anglotino (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 10:19 am Report abuse
Eventually Maduro will run out of people to expel.

Then who will be to blame?
4 yankeeboy (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 11:30 am Report abuse
Gosh what an idiot.
What is in the psyche of these ALBA/MercoSur children that they must always blame “the others”.
It is disgusting.
5 Brasileiro (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 12:21 pm Report abuse
Mr. Maduro is not holy. But the North-Americans are famous for infiltrating saboteurs to destabilize the governments of South and Central America.
We must analyze the facts with exemption.

I'm talking to the wind. Here is just crazy right-wing.
6 golfcronie (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 12:29 pm Report abuse
@ 5
“ i'm talking to the wind”, you might as well as no-one is listening to you. I think you are talking bollocks or talking through your arse.
7 ElaineB (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 12:29 pm Report abuse
““We are determined to defend our country,” said Maduro on state television Sunday night.”

The country belongs just as much to the Venezuelan students and other protesters. So why is he attacking them?

@5 You clearly fear the power of the U.S.A. but in this case they don't need to do anything but watch.
8 yankeeboy (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 12:47 pm Report abuse
Never Interfere With an Enemy While He’s in the Process of Destroying Himself.
9 ChrisR (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 01:00 pm Report abuse
Eventually he will get to the point of having to expel the argie “Ambassador”!

Ha, ha, ha.
10 CabezaDura2 (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 02:06 pm Report abuse
Maduro is right, there is a foreign intervention in his country conspiring and undertaking its own imperialist agenda.

There are about 50.000 Cuban agents infiltrating the Venezuelan state.
11 Conqueror (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 02:46 pm Report abuse
@5 Look on the bright side. If you're really lucky, the United States will decide to step in and replace Venezuela's “bolivarian revolution” with something called “democracy”. The MOST successful political system in the history of the world. Get a brain!
12 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 03:14 pm Report abuse
Brassie....I thought the USA influence was dying and the USA military was shit? If that is the case and the USA is causing this, what does that make Venezuela?

Get a live. The students have some education and apparently doing something you are are incapable of.....thinking independently. Venezuela is smoldering ambers on the verge of erupting. You can only repress people for so long before they swell and fight back and that is what the thinking class is doing.

50% inflation, the largest oil reserves in the world and broke!! Restricted press, food shortages, repression of speech.....and what does he do? Blame someone else. Some president.....evades responsibility. Lopez..the opposition leader is a fool because the world can consider him dead of in jail for life:

Perhaps the USA is stealing products and toilet paper also:

This was the intervention that got them expelled:

“We are deeply concerned by rising tensions, by the violence surrounding this February 12 protest and by the issuing of a warrant for the arrest of the opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Saturday.
”We join the secretary general of (the Organization of American States) in condemning the violence and calling on authorities to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the death of peaceful protesters.”

Such conspiratorial talk!!!!
13 Tik Tok (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 04:09 pm Report abuse
Brasileiro, you are not talking to the wind, but pissing in the wind, and it's all blowing in your face, adds to your dribble.....
This is like a snowball, once one falls the rest of the boliviano clan risks falling too, they grow more isolated from normality every day that lot.
14 Idlehands (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 04:34 pm Report abuse
It's a bit like the Iranians who always believe there is a secret British hand behind all their ills.

It's rather nice to be thought of as so powerful.
15 GFace (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 04:34 pm Report abuse
Gee Braz.... Cuba IS part of North America, I guess. I gotta hand it to you, your broken clock was on time for a fleeting second.

As to the brewing situation, I'm a little put aback by Lopez's martyr run right now. If he is really going to “turn himself in,” the foreign press (since there IS no more effective free press in Venezuela anymore) the is going to have to be with him for the whole march and will have to get that material loaded to their people ASAP. Maduro and the rest of the fascists are going to have intercept him as soon as possible to make sure as little of the footage gets out.
16 Tarquin Fin (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 07:45 pm Report abuse
What is this Castro “mini me” trying to prove?
No jury, no trial, straight to execution!
17 commonsparrow (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 08:33 pm Report abuse
All those, all over the world, that remember basic world history taught in high school are just sitting back and watching this Venezuelan crisis unfold. Mr. Maduro obviously never learned in school what happens to countries and empires since history has been recorded, what is the response to the restrictions/controls he has approved upon his own people. So when you read about those that are “watching” its more than just watching. The watchers are seeing the same thing that happened over and over again since the Roman Empire done by a dictator. Maduro never learned about the consequences, but we are watching him surely experience them.
18 Klingon (#) Feb 17th, 2014 - 11:53 pm Report abuse
@17 The only time Maduro went to school was when he dropped the kids of on his bus run. He is as sharp as a melted crayon!
19 ilsen (#) Feb 18th, 2014 - 01:07 am Report abuse
The Fault Is Not My Mine – Donkey No. 1
Oh, Mas-Burro, How do I love thee, let me count the ways...
The ways that you get it so, so wrong so many times... you do not need an enemy when you have only yourself to blame...
Let us count the ways you have managed to blame ‘others’...
Recently broadcast Maduro’s ‘cadenas’ (public speech):
1) It is Leopoldo López
2) The unarmed students.
3) It is ex-President of Colombia ...
4) It is the CIA
5) It is the USA Gov
6) It is the TV channels
7) Twitter
So which is it Nicol-arse? Sounds like a hugely complicated conspiracy to me...
Just maybe, you got it wrong and at least 50% of the population f*ckin hate you?
20 paulcedron (#) Feb 18th, 2014 - 01:11 am Report abuse
it seems the venezuelans are on the horns of a dilemma.
the tandem chavez - maduro seems to have been a disaster for the economy and unity of venezuela.
capriles did not seem to be the best option either.
it reminds me a bit of our current situation.

now, in spite of all the rant, the expulsion of ambassadors, etc, the u.s. still are the main commercial partner of venezuela.
maybe the par de pelotudos wanted to create a new form of anti imperialismo?
21 BOTINHO (#) Feb 18th, 2014 - 02:00 am Report abuse
Scapegoats, and nothing more.

There is a running history of blaming US Diplomats for the economic troubles in Venezuela since 2008. First the Ambassador, then the replacements Ambassador, on, and on to the latest scapegoats in the US Consulate.

Conspiracies, assassination plans, food shortages, toilet paper plots, all without any corroborating details, and all a plot. First by Chavez, and now by the latest “ El Supremo, ” Sr. Maduro, the bus driver. He clearly cannot do anything, including wipe his backside, without a hall pass from the Cubans.

And despite all the diplomats being expelled up North, the troubles there continue to increase and get worse. Like East Germany /DDR, the educated and middle calls are in flight out to Brasil, the EU, or North America, anywhere but Venezuela. There is nothing there for them there. What a waste !

All the oil in the world but no money, the true legacy of the Bolivarian revolution.
22 Logic (#) Feb 18th, 2014 - 05:55 pm Report abuse
How powerful does one have to be to talk to a few people and hand out cash as incentives? Lol I love how “1st” worlders blame everyone else for having an inferiority complex when in reality, they're the ones with a superiority complex..u kids are funny..make way for the new
23 ChrisR (#) Feb 18th, 2014 - 06:32 pm Report abuse
@ 22 Logic

Assuming you REALLY believe the drivel that you posted I recommend you change your tag to something a little more suitable: idiota, would be my choice for you.

Glad to help.
24 Logic (#) Feb 18th, 2014 - 07:49 pm Report abuse
Wow, an insult to my internet name..give yourself a medal kid. Bunch of whiners on this site..
25 Tik Tok (#) Feb 18th, 2014 - 09:18 pm Report abuse
Seriously though “logic” you sound like a twit, what's a first worlder??? What's wrong with a little aspirational thinking, most people want a better life. It's hard to get a step up the rung in some of these countries that screw over their people. Before you defend a guy like this bus driver how can having no goods on shelves and 60% inflation be good for anyone. And you say that's whining, do you honestly think that's a good situation what Venezuela has become? Sounds like you're as thick as thieves with Maduro, maybe you are the guy that clips the tickets on his bus.
26 BOTINHO (#) Feb 18th, 2014 - 09:21 pm Report abuse

You make a very good point, as it can, and does happen in the world.

However, the last time the American Diplomats were caught handing out anything, it was baseball team equipment for youth teams. Baseball hats, gloves, bats, and balls to one team do not have the makings of an insurrection, but that was what was then stated by the Venezuelan authorities to deflect the vandalism they had actually caused.

The Diplomatic vehicles and the occupants were harassed, attacked, and the vehicles damaged, by paid thugs acting in concert with police.

Maduro has been involved in his own plots against others. Maduro himself has admitted ( and apologized publicly ) that he directly interfered with the internal business of Paraguay, when he was caught in a video recording trying to get the Paraguai military to support former President Lugo. That request was not to take to the streets in protest, but to have the Paraguai armed forces respond with direct military action.

The man needs to leave with his fortune now, while he can. Get back in the bus and go !
27 Logic (#) Feb 18th, 2014 - 11:12 pm Report abuse
When and where did I say that I support Maduro? Of course his policies, his words, and his attitude leave much to be desired. But guess what? He was chosen by the people. Last time I checked, that's called a democracy. My statement about u kids whining all the time is based on observations. Most of the readers and/or commentors on this site are from a “developed” country. Am I right? Now why would someone from, or living in, such a wonderful country have the need to observe, analyze, and belittle the actions, views, and political workings of the “lesser” world? Seems to me like superiority complex stands. But hey, my words will no doubt, fall on deaf ears.

Now before some of you accuse the man of rigging the election, please take a step back and remember who it is that is so easy to dismiss the suggestion that the US might just be covertly involved..
28 Anglotino (#) Feb 19th, 2014 - 12:04 am Report abuse

Democracy is more than just casting a vote. If you think that Venezuela is a functioning democracy, then you need to dig a little deeper and do a little more critical thinking.

As for other posters on this site, if their opinions upset you so much, then that is easily fixed.
29 BOTINHO (#) Feb 19th, 2014 - 01:54 am Report abuse

1. You make the statement regarding cash payments to protestors in Venezuela. This comment is what I was addressing.
2. Venezuela today is about as democratic as the former DDR. As there were concerns about the actual voting count, which was not allowed independent verification from within, or internationally, the actual legitimacy of the “democratically” elected government is in question..

3. I live in Brasil, not the UK, not the EU, and not North America. Venezuela is our Northern neighbor, a country like Argentina that we have to live with but whose current government and oppressive conduct we do not have to accept.
30 Logic (#) Feb 19th, 2014 - 03:51 am Report abuse
I guess I'm upset
31 Jack Bauer (#) Feb 20th, 2014 - 07:23 pm Report abuse
“Just hours before announcing the death of predecessor Hugo Chávez in March, Maduro expelled two U.S. diplomats, accusing them of spying. In the same televised address, he accused the United States of poisoning Chávez, who died from cancer.”...
Sure, and the moon is made of green cheese.
@2's easy to understand he has supporters when you realize they're all as ignorant as he is..
@5 Brazzo....“I'm talking to the wind. Here is just crazy right-wing”. Once again, a post from a “group” of morons...even being a joint-effort they don't know the difference between “right-wing” and f*****g communism !! well done, idiota Brasileiro !!
Logic @ 27 “He was chosen by the people. Last time I checked, that's called a democracy” that makes a “democratically” elected government - as if that were possible, today, in Venezuela - the right to transform itself into an oppressive dictatorship ??? I don't think so.
If Chavez , and now Maduro, had been elected by 100% of the population, I'd say screw them, they got what they deserved - but a significant part of the people, the more intelligent ones, did not vote for those ignorant bastards....hope they string him up.

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