Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expelled the US envoy to Caracas on Thursday and threatened to halt crude exports to the United States on a day he highlighted the recent arrival of two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers.
“Starting at this moment the Yankee ambassador in Caracas has 72 hours to leave Venezuela,” he said .
He said it was “in solidarity” with the leftist government of President Evo Morales in Bolivia, which on Wednesday ordered the US ambassador to La Paz to leave. Chavez then threatened to halt the supply of oil to the United States, its main client, if Washington attacks his government. “If there is any aggression towards Venezuela” from Washington, “there would be no oil for the people of the United States,” said Chavez. He announced that his government had uncovered a coup plot hatched by active and retired military officers, which he said had tacit US approval.