US expels Venezuelan consul general

State Department says official in Miami is persona non grata, as Iranian president begins visit to Caracas.

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks during his weekly "Alo Presidente" broadcast at the Orinoco Belt [Reuters]

    The US has declared the Venezuelan consul general in Miami persona non grata and ordered her expulsion, a State Department official has said.

    The Venezuelan embassy in Washington was notified of the action on Friday and Livia Acosta Noguera, the consul general, was given until January 10 to leave the country, William Ostick, a State Department spokesman, said on Sunday.

    "In accordance with Article 23 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the department declared Ms Livia Acosta Noguera, Venezuelan consul general to Miami, to be persona non grata. As such, she must depart the United States by January 10," he said.

    "We cannot comment on specific details behind the decision to declare Ms Acosta persona non grata at this time," he said in a statement.

    The State Department had said last month it was looking into "very disturbing" allegations that Noguera was a participant in an alleged Iranian plot to launch cyber-attacks on sensitive US national security facilities.

    The allegations were made in a documentary that aired on the Spanish-language television network Univision.

    The US action comes as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad kicks off a Latin American tour in Caracas.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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