Since the start of the year, Venezuela has been shaken by political unrest sometimes erupting in violence after USA -backed opposition leader Juan Guaido announced he was invoking the constitution as head of congress to wrest power from President Nicolas Maduro. "Above all, they should tighten financial sanctions against the regime". Last week, Maduro ordered Univision journalist Jorge Ramos held for hours in the presidential palace after he angered him with questions about hunger in the country.
Mr Guaido denounces Mr Maduro as a scammer whose re-election previous year was fraudulent, and says his regime is to blame for an economic meltdown that has led to widespread food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation.
Guaido said Kriener's expulsion will be seen "as a threat to the free world".
"Venezuela lives under a dictatorship, and this way of proceeding is a threat to Germany", Guaido said.
The U.S. has recognized opposition leader Guaido as the country's rightful head of state.
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Pence told the Latino Coalition that the us will revoke 77 visas held by officials in the Maduro government or their relatives, saying "the time has come to liberate Venezuela from Cuba".
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the decision to expel Kriener escalated the situation in Venezuela, adding that Germany and Europe's backing for Guaido remains unwavering.
Sources told WPLG that Weddle and his assistant were still being interrogated as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, though no one has heard from them - and Venezuela's Ministry of Communication is remaining silent on the matter.
Maduro, meanwhile, pressed his supporters to hold "anti-imperialist" marches Saturday to counter fresh protests planned by Guaido.
Venezuela broke off diplomatic ties with neighbouring Colombia after Maduro's security forces blocked a February 23 attempt by Guaido and allies to bring humanitarian aid into Venezuela from Colombia and Brazil.
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Separately, an American journalist was detained by Venezuelan security services for some 12 hours and due to be deported, in an incident condemned by advocacy groups as an attack on free speech. "They were interested in a story I did about the current atmosphere in the armed forces".
The United States slapped sanctions on Venezuela's vital oil industry in January to try to cut off government revenue and force Maduro out, and pledged further action on Wednesday.
National Security Advisor John Bolton said the United States also is putting foreign financial institutions on notice that they will face sanctions if they facilitate "illegitimate transactions that benefit Nicolas Maduro and his corrupt network".
Kriener and some other diplomats greeted Guaido when he returned to Venezuela on Monday and vowed to intensify his campaign to topple the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
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