Chavez orders closure of Miami consulate


Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has ordered the closure of his country's consulate in Miami after the US expelled the Venezuelan consul general, apparently for alleged espionage and plotting cyberterrorism, the official Venezuelan news agency reported late this afternoon.

"We will close it administratively, while we assess the situation because it is unfair, worrying and immoral for Mrs Consul, who was fulfilling her duty," Chávez was quoted as saying by Agencia Venezolana de Noticias, the official news agency. The president made his remarks in the chamber of Venezuelan National Assembly, where he was reporting on his government's activities in 2011.

More from GlobalPost: Livia Acosta Noguera, Venezuela's consul in Miami, expelled by US

Livia Acosta Noguera, who had been consul general since March, was expelled and declared persona non grata by the U.S. government this week, according to CNN. The US has not officially explained the maneuver. However it follows revelations by the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision, which aired a documentary alleging that Noguera was among Venezuelan and Iranian diplomats who had sought to have Mexican hackers attack the websites of the White House, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Defense Department and nuclear plants.

The actions were the subject of a an FBI investigation, according to the Associated Press.

Chávez, who is seeking reelection in October after 13 years in power, has defended Noguera and denied Univision's reports.

More from GlobalPost: Ahmadinejad and Chavez, together again

In his remarks today, Chávez defended Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who traveled to Venezuela on Sunday and whose government is likewise at loggerheads with Washington.

"He's a good man. He's not any religious fanatic," Chávez was quoted as saying by the AP. He also reportedly defended his decisions to withdraw Venezuelan gold reserves from European and American banks and deposit them in the central bank in Caracas.

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