The United States has expelled two Venezuelan diplomats, following the expulsion of two US attaches from Caracas last week, accused by the Venezuelan government of being "implicated in conspiracy plans".
The Venezuelans were asked to leave a day after President Hugo Chavez's funeral, US officials said on Monday. They were Victor Camacaro, in charge of passport dispatch, and Orlando Montanez, responsible for information and sports relations.
The two countries have not had ambassadors in each other's capitals since 2010.
The latest expulsions came as Vice President Nicolas Maduro and challenger Henrique Capriles registered as candidates to succeed Mr Chavez.
The second secretary in Venezuela's Washington embassy, Orlando Jose Montanez, and New York consular official Victor Camacaro were declared personae non gratae on Saturday and left the US on Sunday, state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
“Around the world, when our people are thrown out unjustly, we’re going to take reciprocal action.. And we need to do that to protect our own people,” she said.
The US officials were sent back hours before Mr Chavez's death was announced on Tuesday.
At the time, Vice President Nicolas Maduro accused them of "attempting to destabilise the country."
Article by the BBC, with extra information by Venezuelanalysis.com