Keeping up with its tit for tat policy, the State Department expelled three Venezuelan diplomats today. The move is reciprocation for the three US diplomats who were run out of Caracas on Monday on accusations of sabotage. But President Maduro’s face-saving gambit may not be so fruitful after all. The NYT has more:
“The government does these things to distract us from our real problems,” said Cristian Nivela, 24, a Chávez loyalist who voted for Mr. Maduro, referring to the expulsion of the American diplomats.…“It is regrettable that the Venezuelan government has again decided to expel U.S. diplomatic officials based on groundless allegations, which require reciprocal action. the State Department said in a statement. “It is counterproductive to the interests of both our countries.”
It’s no surprise to hear a Venezuelan leader spew baseless allegations in order to explain away the country’s many problems—the oil-rich, socialist country is suffering from hyperinflation, power shortages, and scarcity of basic commodities. Few were better versed in such evasive tactics than the late Hugo Chávez, who perennially blamed saboteurs and American spies for the country’s woes. But it seems that Maduro lacks the panache of his predecessor, and is unable to incite resentment toward the Americans who single-handedly spoil Venezuela’s otherwise utopian existence. President Maduro may be wise not to declare any more US diplomats personae non gratae, or he’ll find himself short of people to blame.