CARACAS: Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez on Wednesday ordered the
U.S. ambassador out of the oil exporting country in an escalating battle between
Washington and Latin America's left-wing leaders.
"Go to hell, shit yankees, we are a dignified people, go to hell 100 times,"
Chavez shouted at a political rally to thousands of roaring supporters.
Chavez's move came a day after Bolivian President Evo Morales, one of his closest
allies, expelled the U.S. ambassador in La Paz on accusations that he was instigating
violent protests in the Andean nation.
The United States responded on Thursday by ejecting Bolivia's ambassador in
Washington, and Chavez said the United States should send back Venezuela's top
envoy straight away.
"We will send an ambassador when there is a new government in the United
States, a government that respects the people of Latin America," he said.
Eight people were killed as violent anti-government protests flared in Bolivia
on Thursday, creating havoc in its crucial natural gas industry.
Earlier in the day, Chavez spiced up a nascent campaign for Venezuela's tough
local elections in November with allegations that retired military officers
were planning to assassinate him. He also ordered a reduction of U.S. flights
to Venezuela and pledged to support Morales in the event of a coup against him.
(Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Kieran Murray)