President Maduro ordered yesterday the immediate expulsion of three functionaries of the United States embassy in Caracas. Kelly Keiderling, highest ranking American diplomat in the embassy, Elizabeth Hoffman, and David Moo, have 48 hours to leave the country.
“Kelly Keiderling, Elizabeth Hoffman, and David Moo, have 48 hours to leave Venezuela and go back to the United States because they are conspirators (…) Yankees go home! Out of Venezuela! I don’t care about any actions the Obama government might take. (…) We have detected and followed during several months a group of functionaries of the United States embassy in Venezuela, they have been meeting with the extreme right and have financed them, and have encouraged their sabotage actions against the electric system and the Venezuelan economy. I have all the evidence right here in my hands,” declared Maduro.
Maduro did not show the evidence. However at least part of that evidence could refer to a public lecture Keiderling gave on September 7 at the Guayana campus of the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB). A picture of Kimberly speaking at the UCAB in Guayana features prominently in the Sibci news note. In that lecture she argued that a strong developed country can only be achieved “with a media that responsibly tries to get at the truth, with objectivity, that offers different points of view, that is willing to criticize the government, to improve the country.” It is likely that Keiderling met with local opposition politicians and union leaders at UCAB during her visit.
Maduro explained the expulsion measures by specifically referring to recent “sabotage” cases in Guayana, where Keiderling delivered her lecture: “This group is very active in Bolivar State, in Guayana (…) they meet with union leaders and politicians of the right and with others that wear a red beret [symbol of the PSUV] but that stab the fatherland in the back, they have been sabotaging SIDOR [State still industry], and the electric system,” said Maduro.
Workers unions at SIDOR have been protesting working conditions and in September 20 staged a week long strike. Maduro accused the union leaders of sabotaging the industry and of acting as puppets of the “fascist right.”