Trump increases economic isolation of Venezuela after Maduro reelection


Hours after the United States of America slammed a fresh round of new sanctions on Venezuela over the re-election of President Nicholas Maduro, the feisty leader has retaliated by expelling a top usa diplomat.

The election was boycotted by the main opposition parties and widely criticized by the worldwide community, including the United States, which denounced it as a "sham".

He accused them of conspiracy against the government.

Reacting to the ongoing developments, on Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the expulsion of USA charge d'affaires Todd Robinson and deputy head of mission Brian Naranjo and declared both of them "persona non grata".

The expulsion order also included the head of political affairs at the US Embassy, Brian Naranjo, who together with Robinson must exit Venezuela within 48 hours.

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Mauricio Macri and the Lima Group have both rejected the legitimacy of the recent elections in Venezuela.

"Technically, up until today, we have not observed any element that could disqualify the electoral process", said CEELA President Nicanor Moscoso in a press conference.

Venezuela has not had a proper U.S. ambassador since July 2010, after the authorities in Caracas withdrew the agreement for the appointment of Larry L. Palmer, nominated by then-President Barack Obama.

US, Canada and several Latin American have denied approving Maduro's re-election and recalled their envoys from Caracas.

The executive order prohibits USA citizens from being involved in sales of Venezuela's pending invoices related to oil and other assets, though Vielma said shipments of fuel and crude to the United States would continue.

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The Election Council announced that with more than 92 percent of polling stations reporting, Maduro won almost 68 percent of the votes, beating his nearest challenger Henri Falcon by more than 40 points.

Ninety-nine people bought tickets on Monday morning for that trip, said Greberli Rojas, a passenger who displayed a handwritten wait-list she was keeping to avoid disputes between passengers trying to fit on the bus. Turnout was less than 50 percent, compared to 80 percent in 2013.

On Monday, President Donald Trump Monday tightened sanctions against Caracas, making it harder for the Maduro regime to sell off state assets.

But they appeared unlikely to heed the USA warnings.

A State Department official told AFP that Washington had "not received notification from the Venezuelan government through diplomatic channels", but that if the expulsions are confirmed, "the United States may take appropriate reciprocal action".

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In a statement on Tuesday, Venezuela's foreign ministry said the sanctions violated worldwide law and blamed the USA "blockade" of the country for "blocking the population's access to basic goods".