CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday that his government will close its consulate in Miami after the U.S. government expelled a diplomat.
Chavez said he decided the consulate will shut its doors in response to what he called an unfair action by the U.S. State Department.
"We're going to close it. It's OK. There won't be a consulate in Miami," Chavez said during his annual speech to the National Assembly.
Livia Acosta Noguera, Venezuela's consul general in Miami, was ordered out of the U.S. last weekend followed an FBI investigation into allegations that she discussed a possible cyber-attack on the U.S. government while she was assigned to the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico. The allegations were detailed in a documentary aired by the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision.
The documentary was based on recordings of conversations with her and other officials, and alleged that Cuban and Iranian diplomatic missions were involved. Citing audio and video obtained by the students at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Univision said Acosta was seeking information about the servers of nuclear power plants in the U.S.
"There's no proof that she was going around carrying out espionage," Chavez said. He said he thought "pressure by sectors of the far-right" in the U.S. were behind her expulsion.
Chavez said the government decided on an "administrative closing of the consulate while we study the situation." It's unclear what the government intends to do with other diplomats stationed in Miami.
The consulate in Miami, which covers the states of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, is one of Venezuela's largest in the United States.