WASHINGTON – The United States government expelled on Wednesday two Venezuelan diplomats, ordering them to leave the country within 48 hours.
The Venezuelan charge d’affaires in Washington, D.C., Carlos Ron Ramirez, and the deputy consul general of the Venezuelan consulate in Houston were declared personae non grata on Wednesday by the US Department of State.
According to a press release published by the department on Wednesday, the decision was made in response to Venezuela’s decision to oust the US charge d’affaires in Caracas, Todd Robinson, and his second in command, head of political affairs Brian Naranjo.
Both Ramirez and Robinson were the most senior diplomats representing their respective diplomatic missions in Washington, D.C. and Caracas as both countries have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010.
On Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the expulsion of the two diplomats during an event in which he was proclaimed winner of the recent presidential elections in Venezuela, and accused Robinson of acting as a “conspirator” in his country.
The US Department of State said in the statement that “the accusations behind the Maduro regime’s decision are unjustified.”
It also pointed out that the diplomats expelled by Caracas “have carried out their official duties responsibly and consistent with diplomatic practice and applicable provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”
“We reject any suggestion to the contrary,” the statement said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also warned the Maduro administration on Wednesday that the US would respond “proportionately” to Venezuela’s expulsion of its diplomats.