Venezuela withdraws top diplomat in US

Venezuela calls back top diplomat in US to protest White House's decision to renew sanctions

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting marking International Women's Day, at Miraflores Palace in Caracas March 8, 2016.

Venezuela’s top diplomat in Washington was called back on Wednesday after US renewed a decree imposing sanctions on several top Venezuelan officials.

Maximilien Arvelaiz was acting as Venezuela's charge d'affaires in Washington, he had been waiting for months to be officially allowed to act as Venezuela’s ambassador to the United States.

The US congress passed a legislation that authorises freezing of assets and visa bans for anyone accused of acts of violence or violation of human rights on those opposing Venezuela's government.

Following the legislation, in March 2015, US President Barack Obama placed sanctions on seven Venezuelan officials.

The officials were accused of committing human rights violations and public corruption. 

They were at the top of the state security, responsible for cracking down on anti-government protests in 2104 and pursuing charges against leading opponents.

According to Venezuelan officials, Obama sent a letter to leaders of the US legislature saying the sanctions would be renewed because the situation in Venezuela had not improved.

Venezuelan president accused the United States of plotting to overthrow his government.

"We don't accept impositions or aggressions," President Nicolas Maduro said in a program on state television and added "Enough of the arrogance, prepotency and intrigue."

The relationship between the two countries have been stormy since Chavez became president in 1999, and since 2010 they do not have ambassadorial ties.

TRTWorld and agencies