Venezuela to expel US Embassy official

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP, REUTERS) - Venezuela's vice president, Nicolas Maduro, says the government of President Hugo Chavez plans to expel a U.S. Embassy official for meeting with military officers and planning to destabilize the country.

Mr Maduro, in a live address to the nation, identified the American as the Air Force attache and said he had been spying on the military. He said the official has 24 hours to leave the country.

He also said on Tuesday the cancer afflicting Hugo Chavez was an "attack" by enemies among a barrage of conspiracies against him throughout his 14-year rule.

Mr Maduro added that Venezuela was preparing "special measures" to counter an upsurge in plotting against the government during Mr Chavez's battle against cancer.