Here’s why Venezuela just expelled three American diplomats

BY Rachel Wellford  February 17, 2014 at 2:18 PM EST

Venezuela has seen a recent outbreak of violence after demonstrators protested the current socialist leadership. Here’s a timeline of the situation this past week:

  • Last Thursday, three anti-government protesters were shot dead in the capital, Caracas.
  • Following the protests, authorities issued an arrest warrant for opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez on charges of conspiracy and murder in connection with the violent protests.
  • On Saturday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf voiced concerns about the violence and tension in Venezuela.
  • In response, the Foreign Ministry in Venezuela accused the American government of lying and said there is strong evidence that opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is responsible for the recent violence.
  • Lopez’s party, Popular Will, blamed the government for the surge of violence during the protests.
  • On Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro accused three American diplomats of conspiring against the Venezuelan government and called for them to be expelled.
  • Lopez posted a YouTube video on Sunday calling for renewed anti-government protests Tuesday. He also promised to come to the Justice Ministry in person and give the government officials a list of demands from the Venezuelan people. He encouraged fellow protesters to be peaceful and allow him to walk up to the ministry alone.