Call it tit-for-tat or a game of political chess: the U.S. Department of State is expelling Venezuelan diplomats, giving them 48 hours to leave the country.
The move is in retaliation to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's order to expel three U.S. diplomats from his country last week. Maduro accused them of conspiring with anti-government groups. (Via Al Jazeera)
According to RT, the order from the State Department comes after Maduro announced plans to send an ambassador to the U.S. He said in a speech Monday, "U.S. society needs to know the truth about Venezuela. ... [The Americans] think we're killing each other."
U.S. officials, including President Obama, said previously Maduro needed to focus on peaceful dialogue with the opposition: "The government ought to focus on the grievances of the Venezuelan people." (Via C-SPAN)
But as of Tuesday, dialogue with the U.S. or the opposition still hasn't begun.
Prominent opposition leader Henrique Capriles publicly rejected Maduro's offer to hold talks Monday. The New York Times translated a tweet from Caprlies which reads, "There's NO meeting with Nicolas. After so much lying and insulting, we are consulting communities about assistance."
At least 14 people have been killed in Venezuela's protests, which turned violent more than a week ago. Anti-government demonstrators have taken to the streets to protest a shortage of basic goods, high crime and inflation. (Via CNN)
Businessweek reports Maduro has called for people from all walks of life to attend a "peace conference" Wednesday and sign an agreement condemning the escalating violence. A spokeswoman for Capriles said he is considering the invitation.