Photo: Livia Costa Ousted out of U.S. as Venezuelan Consul
Livia Acosta Nogura, Venezuela’s consul in Miami, was declared persona non grata by the U.S. government and will have to leave the country, a State Department spokesman told Efe on Sunday.
The Venezuelan Embassy in Washington received the official notification on Friday and the consul must leave the United States by Tuesday, Jan. 10, the State Department’s spokesman for Latin America, William Ostick, said, adding that he could not provide specific details regarding the reason for this decision.
“In accordance with Article 23 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the department declared Ms. Livia Acosta Noguera, Venezuelan consul general to Miami, to be persona non grata. As such, she must depart the United States by January 10,” Ostick said.
This article of the Vienna Convention stipulates the conditions under which the host state may communicate at any time to the sending state that one of the latter’s consular officials is persona non grata.
The article also says that the host state is not obligated to divulge to the sending state the reasons for its decision.
Last December, the Univision television network broadcast a documentary entitled “La amenaza irani” (The Iranian threat) discussing an alleged plan in 2006 to launch cyber-attacks on several nuclear plants in the United States, as well as the White House, the FBI and the CIA.
Some of the people interviewed on the program said that the Iranian, Cuban and Venezuelan embassies participated in the plan.
After the documentary was broadcast, the president of the organization Veppex, which represents the interests of Venezuelans living abroad who claim to be politically persecuted, Jose Antonio Colina, said he was in favor of investigating the consul, who has been in her Miami post since March 2011.
Veppex sent a letter on Dec. 12 to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking that both Acosta Noguera and another official at the consulate, Egard Jose Alexander Belandria, be expelled for allegedly belonging to Venezuela’s national intelligence service, Sebin.
“Diplomatic immunity cannot be used to conspire on foreign territory against the security of the country, in this case the United States,” said Colina in an interview with Efe at the time, adding that he felt there was an “important” precedent for this because “in the past she has violated federal laws by asking for photocopies of the immigration documents of Venezuelans.”
Florida Republican lawmakers Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz Balart and David Rivera and New Jersey Democratic legislator Albio Sires also asked Clinton to investigate the accusations against the Venezuelan diplomat and, if they proved to be correct, to ask her to leave the country immediately.
“If proven, these actions show Livia’s ... willingness to undermine the interests of the United States and the potential threat to our national security her activities represent,” they said in a missive sent to Clinton.
The consul last July was involved in a controversy after two Venezuelan mothers, one of them with sick daughters, complained of “political discrimination” by the consulate when it allegedly interfered with their family remittances.