In diplomatic tit-for-tat, US expels two Venezuelan diplomats

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration has expelled two Venezuelan diplomats, further setting back United States efforts to repair relations with the Latin American country after President Hugo Chavez's death.

The move is in retaliation for Venezuela's expulsion of two American military attaches after Mr Chavez died last week.

US officials said junior diplomats Orlando Jose Montanez Olivares and Victor Camacaro Mata were told to return home over the weekend, and they left the US on Sunday.

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly on the matter.

Washington wants to repair ties with Venezuela but has made little headway so far. Beyond the diplomatic tit-for-tat, Venezuelan officials have accused the US of being responsible for Mr Chavez's cancer and sought to rally anti-US sentiment ahead of an April election for a new leader.