Venezuela ordered American diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours on Tuesday after President Nicolas Maduro accused US counterpart Donald Trump of cyber sabotage that plunged the OPEC nation into its worst blackout on record.
Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said US diplomats on Venezuelan soil must leave within three days, after talks broke down over maintaining diplomatic interest sections in the two countries.
The presence on Venezuelan soil of these officials represents a risk for the peace, unity and stability of the country, the government said in a statement.
The US State Department had announced on Monday it will withdraw its staff from Venezuela this week, saying their presence had become a constraint on US policy.
Washington has taken the lead in recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's rightful president after the 35-year-old Congress chief announced an interim presidency in January after declaring Maduro's 2018 re-election a fraud. Most countries in Europe and Latin America have followed suit.
Maduro, who retains control of the military and other state institutions as well as the backing of Russia and China, has denounced Guaido as a puppet of the United States.
Maduro blamed Washington for organizing what he said was a sophisticated cyber attack on Venezuela's hydroelectric power operations.
Donald Trump is most responsible for the cyber attack on the Venezuelan electricity system, Maduro said in a broadcast from the Miraflores presidential palace on Monday night.
This is a technology that only the government of the United States possesses.