Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said he's expelling the top two U.S. diplomats in the country after America imposed sanctions in the wake of a disputed election, saying that the men had meddled in internal politics.

Charge d'Affaires Todd Robinson and Consul General Brian Naranjo were declared persona non grata and must leave Venezuela in 48 hours, Maduro said Tuesday afternoon.

The expulsions, and the arrest of six military officers, came in the wake of Maduro's re-election to another six-year term on Sunday. They next day, the U.S. prohibited purchases of debts owed to the government, including to the crucial state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA. The move was meant to draw the financial net tighter around a lifeline industry without punishing a hungry and downtrodden population.

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