Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The State Department on Tuesday declared three Venezuelan diplomats persona non grata and ordered them to leave in 48 hours.
The expulsion of Venezuelan Embassy First Secretary Ignacio Luis Cajal Avalos, First Secretary Victor Manuel Pisani Azpurua and Second Secretary Marcos Jose Garcia Figueredo was in retaliation for the expulsion of three American diplomats in Caracas a week ago.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the expulsion of the American diplomats for allegedly fomenting civil unrest in the Latin American country.
Venezuela’s foreign ministry announced Tuesday it will send a new envoy to the U.S., but the State Department said it would agree to exchange ambassadors only when it saw a new spirit of cooperation from Caracas.
More than two weeks of anti-government protests across Venezuela have taken its toll with at least 15 deaths from clashes with police and pro-government demonstrators. The protesters were demanding solution to lack of basic goods, rising inflation and rising crime rate.