Venezuela Boots 2 US Diplomats, Cries Espionage

Two Air Force officials accused of trying to destabilize government

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 5, 2013 12:46 PM CST

(Newser) – Venezuela has booted two US diplomats after accusing them of espionage and plotting to destabilize the country. With Hugo Chavez clinging to life, it was Vice President Nicolas Maduro who today announced the government's move. He said one of the Americans, identified as an Air Force attache named David Delmonaco, had been meeting with military officers, spying on the military, and plotting against the government, reports the AP. Venezuela later said a second Air Force attache, still unidentified, also was being expelled on espionage charges.

That wasn't all the bluster from Maduro in comments made to reporters today, notes CNN: He asserted that the "scientific proof" would one day emerge to prove that Chavez was poisoned by "the historical enemies of our heartland." He likened the poisoning to what happened to Yasser Arafat. (Update: Maduro announced the death of Chavez hours after making the accusations.)

Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro holds up a Venezuelan flag.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
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