BY JIM WYSS
If the past is a guide, the United States is likely to retaliate with a tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsion after Venezuela said it would be ousting three U.S. embassy personnel.
President Nicolás Maduro on Sunday said three unnamed U.S. consulate officials were “conspiring” against the country.
“Go back to Washington and conspire,” Maduro said during an address late Sunday. “Leave Venezuela alone.”
He said the officials had been visiting private universities in Caracas under the guise of offering visas, “but we know they were conspiring,” he added.
The U.S. State Department was closed for President’s Day and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The expulsions come amid growing tensions in the Andean nation. Swelling student protests, which have lasted more than a week, have sometimes resulted in clashes with government security. On Wednesday, three people were killed and more than 60 were injured.