U.S. Expels Venezuelan Consul as “Persona Non Grata”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has condemned the United States’ decision to expel the Venezuelan consul general in Miami as “arbitrary and unjustified” this past Monday, and derided the move as “another demonstration of the arrogance of ridiculous imperialism”.  


Caracas, January 10th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has condemned the United States’ decision to expel the Venezuelan consul general in Miami as “arbitrary and unjustified” this past Monday, and derided the move as “another demonstration of the arrogance of ridiculous imperialism”.  

Venezuelan diplomat Livia Acosta Noguera had been working in the U.S. since March 2011 when she was ordered to leave last Sunday amidst claims that she had discussed the possibility of orchestrating cyber attacks against the US government whilst serving as Vice-secretary at the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico.

“She has been accused of I don’t know how many things by the U.S. government, and above all, by sectors of the ultra rightwing in Miami , including many Venezuelans who live there, counter-revolutionaries, not all of them, but a small group,” explained Chavez.

Contrary to the accounts published by many mainstream news channels, President Chavez also clarified that Noguera was already in Caracas, and had been since December.

“We already knew that this was going to happen, and so she has been in Caracas in order to avoid situations, possibly even dangerous ones,” said the Venezuelan president.

The U.S. State Department has not commented on the reasons for Noguera’s expulsion, however, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs, Roger Noriega, posted the following comment on his twitter account prior to the US government’s official announcement.

“Chavista terrorist spy consul general Livia Acosta expelled from the United States by the State Department! Acosta has 72 hours to leave the country.”

Despite the U.S. State Department’s silence on the issue, it is known that four members of Congress had previously written to US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, on December 9th expressing their “grave concern” over the “diplomatic credentials” of Noguera. In the letter the four representatives make reference to “The Iranian Threat”, a 2008 documentary filmed by the Spanish-language media corporation Univision.

The four members of congress are; Cuban-American Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican), Mario Diaz-Balart (Republican), David Rivera (Republican) and Cuban-American Albio Sires (Democrat).

In an interview with Telemundo’s Soraya Galan last week, former Venezuelan military Lieutenant, José Antonio Colina Pulido, also revealed that he too had sent a letter to Hilary Clinton in August of last year advising the Secretary of State that Noguera was illegally using her diplomatic immunity in order to gain access to classified documents.

The retired Lieutenant, who is wanted in Venezuela for his connection to the terrorist attacks carried out against the Spanish Embassy and the Consulate of Colombia in February 2002, also claimed he had proof that the Venezuelan diplomat was “actively working for Chavez’s political police”. Pulido did not elucidate as to the nature of this evidence for the benefit of Telemundo viewers.

The Documentary

Based on audio and video files obtained from “students posing as extremists” who Noguera supposedly met with at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the documentary alleges that the Venezuelan diplomat discussed the possibility of coordinating attacks against the United States’ computer systems with other Cuban and Iranian officials.  According to the documentary, these cyber-attacks would be “worse than September 11th”.

The same Univision documentary has caused diplomatic altercations between the US and Venezuela before, and was cited by congressmen such as John McCain earlier last year in an unsuccessful bid to have Venezuela placed on the US “State Sponsor of Terrorism” list. The United States government has been unable to provide evidence to corroborate the authenticity or accuracy of the New York-based company’s documentary, although the Associated Press reports that the FBI has been investigating.

Previously based in Los Angeles, Univision is the largest Spanish language network in the USA. It is partly owned by American-Israeli media mogul and close friend to the Clintons, Haim Saban, also the owner of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, a foreign policy think tank in Washington.

Univision’s Executive Board includes Cesar Conde (President of Univision Networks) and Randy Falco (President and Chief Executive Officer). Conde was appointed as a White House Fellow by former U.S. President George W. Bush in 2002-2003. During this time, he served as the White House Fellow for Secretary of State, Colin L Powell.