Sunday, 16 February 2014

Venezuela's hardliner reappears as Nicolas Maduro expels US officials

President announces expulsion of three US consular officials and clampdown on protest called by Leopoldo Lopez
Students flee after the National Guard fires tear gas  in Caracas on Sunday.
Protesting students flee after the National Guard fires tear gas in Caracas on Sunday. Photograph: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images
After four days out of the public eye, Venezuela’s opposition hardliner Leopoldo Lopez has appeared in a video asking his compatriots to join him in a march on Tuesday to demand a halt to the crackdown that followed Wednesday’s deadly protests.
After the circulation of Lopez’s message, President Nicolas Maduro took to the airwaves to denounce US interference in Venezuelan sovereignty while vowing to apply the full weight of law to Lopez and his upcoming protest. He also said he had ordered the explusion of three US consular officials who, he said, had been conspiring against his government.