In this picture released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, speaks during his weekly broadcast "Alo Presidente" in Caracas, March 2, 2008. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office)
Caracas, Venezuela (AP) The U.S. embassy in Venezuela says it's received no official notification. But it has heard that the country's president, Hugo Chavez, wants the U.S. ambassador to leave within 72 hours.
Chavez accuses Ambassador Patrick Duddy of conspiring against his government. He made the move in solidarity with Bolivia after his ally expelled the U.S. ambassador there, accusing him of aiding violent protests.
Chavez says he's also recalling the Venezuelan ambassador to Washington. And he says a new American ambassador will not be welcome in Caracas “until there's a U.S. government that respects the people of Latin America.”
As it so happens, Ambassador Duddy is traveling in the United States this week.
The diplomatic spat brings relations between the two countries to a new low. It raises questions about whether it could hurt trade. Venezuela is the fourth-largest oil supplier to the United States.