Photo: Venezuela Expel David Del Monaco
The leftist government of critically ill Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday announced the expulsion of the air attache at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas for “proposing destabilizing projects” to members of the Andean nation’s armed forces.
Col. David del Monaco has 24 hours to leave the country, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in a televised speech, while Foreign Minister Elias Jaua announced later that the attache’s assistant, an officer named Kostal, was also ordered to leave.
“We have learned and we have been monitoring the illegal activity, which mocks and violates international agreements, of this official of the Embassy of the United States,” Maduro said of the attache.
Del Monaco “devoted himself to the task of seeking active-duty military men to, first, investigate the situation of the (Venezuelan) armed forces and, in the second place, to propose destabilizing projects to them,” the vice president said.
Chavez is in “very delicate” condition with a new infection, Venezuelan Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said Monday night.
“There is a worsening of respiratory function related to the autoimmune condition that is part of his clinical condition. Currently, there is a new and severe infection,” the minister said.
Chavez is being treated at a military hospital in Caracas and was last seen in public on Dec. 10. He spent more than two months in Cuba due to complications that followed a Dec. 11 cancer surgery in Havana.
The 58-year-old Chavez has undergone four operations, as well as courses of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, since first being diagnosed with cancer in June 2011.