Three U.S. diplomatic officials ejected from Venezuela
Venezuelan president accuses diplomats of conspiracy
In a further test of resolve between the United States and the OPEC-affiliated South American nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro ordered three U.S. diplomatic officials out of his country. The Venezuelan president had accused the officials of conspiring against his government.
Leopoldo López's party, Popular Will, has accused the Maduro government of being responsible for violence during the protests.
"We are deeply concerned by rising tensions, by the violence surrounding this February 12 protest and by the issuing of a warrant for the arrest of the opposition leader Leopoldo López," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
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"We join the secretary general of (the Organization of American States) in condemning the violence and calling on authorities to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the death of peaceful protesters."
In response, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry fired back angrily at the Obama administration.
"The U.S. government is lying when the denounced the arrest of anti- peaceful protesters," the ministry said in a statement. "The world must know that there is sufficient evidence that the groups that have caused violence in recent days are headed by Mr. Leopoldo López."
López's party, Popular Will, has accused the Maduro government of being responsible for violence during the protests.
López, in a recently posted YouTube video called for new anti-government protests, vowing to show his face in front of Venezuela's Justice Ministry and hand over a list of demands from the Venezuelan people to government officials.
"It has been said in recent days that they want to see me held prisoner. I will be there to show my face. I have nothing to be afraid of. I have not committed any crime. I have been a Venezuelan committed to our country, to our people, to our constitution and to our future," he said. "If there is some decision to illegally imprison me, well, I will be there, to assume this persecution and this infamous decision by the state."
López also encouraged protesters to be peaceful and to allow him to walk the final stretch to the ministry alone.
Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...
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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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