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Three Venezuelan Diplomats Expelled from US

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Three Venezuelan diplomats are being told to leave the United States just one day after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered a trio of American officials to leave the South American country.

On Tuesday, Maduro accused the U.S. diplomats of plotting to sabotage the Venezuelan economy, claiming that he had evidence of their involvement in a power-grid scandal in September. Maduro also claimed that the Americans had bribed energy firms to cut production. The Americans, including charge d'affaires Kelly Keiderling and embassy officials David Moo and Elizabeth Hoffman, were given 48 hours to leave. Maduro punctuated the announcement, saying "Yankees, go home!"

In what White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called "a reciprocal action," the U.S. State Department on Wednesday gave three Venezuelan officials instructions to leave within 48 hours. Among the Venezuelan trio is the country's top official in the U.S., charge d'affaires Calixo Ortega Rios.

Carney called Maduro's decision to expel American diplomats "an effort to distract from its domestic problems," and "not a serious way for a country to conduct its foreign policy."

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