POLITICS: PennAve

White House defends diplomats expelled by Venezuela

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Politics,White House,United States,PennAve,State Department,Meghashyam Mali,Jay Carney

The White House on Wednesday rejected Venezuela's charges that three expelled U.S. diplomats were trying to undermine the government there, saying that Caracas' actions were “not a serious way” to conduct foreign policy.

“We completely reject the Venezuelan government's allegation that U.S. officials were in any way involved in efforts to destabilize the Venezuelan government,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.

Venezuela on Tuesday kicked out three U.S. diplomats it accused of planning to sabotage the nation’s power grid and wreck the economy.

Late Tuesday, the State Department retaliated, ordering three Venezuelan diplomats in the U.S. to leave.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Tuesday said the American officials were “conducting normal diplomatic engagement” and had not done anything wrong, according to the AP.

Carney said the “action by the Venezuelan government is clearly an effort to distract from its domestic problems.”

President Nicholas Maduro has been a strong critic of the U.S., following in the footsteps of late President Hugo Chavez.

Carney said the U.S. hoped to “be able to make progress on areas of mutual interest” with Caracas but said that would depend on Venezuela’s efforts to work in “seriousness” with the U.S.

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