MIAMI -- The U.S. has ordered Venezuela's Miami Consul General Livia Acosta Noguera to leave the country by January 10, according to the U.S. Department of State.
The Venezuela Embassy in Washingto was told on January 6 that Acosta Noguera had been declared "persona non grata."
The US State Department did not say why the Venezuela Consul was expelled, but many US Congressmen and women had expressed concern and called for action from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Acosta Noguera's possible involvement in terrorism against the United States.
“It has recently come to our attention that Ms. Antonieta, assigned to the Venezuelan consul in Miami since March 2011, has been linked to a potential cyber attack on the United States involving affiliates of the Iranian, Cuban, and Venezuelan regimes,” Congressman David Rivera (FL-25), Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-21) and Congressman Albio Sires (NJ-13) wrote to Secretary Clinton in December.
Antonieta was featured in the Univision Network documentary, “The Iranian Threat” (“La Amenaza Iraní”). According to the documentary, when she served as the vice secretary at the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico in 2008, she interacted with members from the Iranian and Cuban embassies and extremist students from the Universidad Autónoma of Mexico to coordinate a cyber attack against the U.S. government, and critical infrastructure systems at the White House, FBI and CIA.
“If true, these actions demonstrate Livia Antonieta’s willingness to undermine U.S. interests and the potential threat to our national security posed by Livia Antonieta’s activities. With this in mind, we respectfully request the Department of State to investigate these allegations, and if found true, declare her a persona non grata and require her immediate departure from the United States,” the letter reads.
In the Senate, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), has called for hearings on the alleged plot.
“If Iran is using regional actors to facilitate and direct activities against the United States, this would represent a substantial increase in the level of the Iranian threat and would necessitate an immediate response,” said Menendez.
Venezuela President Hugo Chavez denies the allegations in the documentary.
“They are using a lie as an excuse to attack us,” the leftist strongman said of the United States during a TV and radio address. “We must be on our guard.”
Chavez resumed his talk show Sunday after a 7 month hiatus while he recovered from cancer treatment. He later hosts Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is in Caracas for meetings.