January 8, 2012
Ros-Lehtinen Statement On Expulsion Of Venezuelan Consul In Miami; Says Iranian President’s Visit To Latin America Highlights Serious Challenge To US Interests
Washington, DC — Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) issued the following statement after press reports indicated that the Venezuelan Consul General in Miami, Ms. Livia Antonieta Acosta Noguera, had been designated as persona non grata and given 72 hours to leave the US. Ms. Acosta was identified in a documentary by the Spanish television network Univision as having conspired in an Iranian plot to infiltrate US national security facilities. Ros-Lehtinen and other Members of Congress asked the State Department for an investigation into these serious charges against the Venezuelan Consul General.
“This is the appropriate step to take against the Venezuelan General Consul in Miami and highlights the threat posed by Iranian influence in Latin America. The serious charges against the Consul prompted other Members of Congress and me to ask the State Department to investigate her and, if warranted, to designate her as persona non grata. While I am pleased that this was done, we must increase our efforts to counter Iranian plots in the Western Hemisphere. Iran has found willing partners in its dictatorial allies like the Castro brothers, Chavez, Ortega and Correa and we cannot stand idly by as they undermine democratic principles.
“This Administration must be more proactive and engaged against the serious threat of Iranian activity in the region and this is a first step in that direction. The Iranian President’s visit to Latin America serves as a somber reminder that our enemies are welcomed by our undemocratic neighbors. We must strengthen our regional alliances to confront the onslaught of anti democratic forces in Latin America whose goal is to undermine our nation.”