Latin America News – Nicolás Maduro’s Power Moves

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (R) walks next to Venezuelan Defence Minister, Gen. Vladimir Padrino Lopez (L) during a military honour ceremony in Caracas on May 24, 2018. (Photo credit: JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

News Americas, CARACAS, Venezuela, Fri. May 25, 2018: Back in office for another term after Sunday’s vote, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro is making some power moves.

His first order of business – expelling expelled the senior US representative in the country amid an international backlash against his re-election as president for another six years.

Maduro announced the expulsion of U.S. Charge D’Affaires Todd Robinson as his victory in Sunday’s vote was being proclaimed officially. He accused Robinson of being involved in “a military conspiracy” against Venezuela.

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He also kicked out the US’ head of political affairs Brian Naranjo in a move he said is aimed at defending Venezuela’s sovereignty and rejecting Washington’s interventionist policies against the country and its people.

“I have declared him (Todd Robinson) persona non grata, and I announce the exit of the United States Chargé d’Affaires in 48 hours,” Maduro said of Robinson during the official proclamation of his re-election.

Maduro also named Carlos Ron Martinez as the new vice-minister of foreign relations for North America, according to Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza.

Ron Martinez had previously served in the Venezuelan embassy in Washington D.C., in charge of Venezuelan business affairs in the United States since March 2017.

The US has not had a serving ambassador in Venezuela for eight years and Robinson was its most senior representative.

Meanwhile, the Venezuela vote Sunday was marred by an opposition boycott and allegations of fraud, which has led the US to tighten sanctions.

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