WASHINGTON — The State Department is asking officials at the Venezuelan consulate in Houston to leave the country after the South American government moved its offices in that city before receiving permission.
The Venezuelan officials were being asked to depart because the unauthorized move violated international protocol, Nicole Thompson, a State Department spokeswoman, said Saturday. She said one consular officer was being allowed to remain temporarily in Houston so that Venezuela can continue to operate a consulate until a permanent location is approved.
The dispute stems from the Venezuelan Consulate's request in August to move to another Houston location. Before the State Department issued its approval, U.S. officials learned the consulate had already leased space and began operations at the new location. The State Department ordered Venezuela on Oct. 2 to cease operations, and when it hadn't, the U.S. revoked their privileges on Oct. 31.