— By Domani Spero
Last week, Venezuela accused the top U.S. diplomat at the US Embassy in Caracas charge d’affaires Kelly Keiderling and two other diplomats, David Moo and Elizabeth Hoffman, of “acts of sabotage” and ordered them to leave the country within 48 hours. (See Venezuela Kicks Out Top US Diplomat, Two Other Officials For … Wait For It ….Blackouts!). Later that same day, the U.S. Government expelled Venezuelan charge d’affaires Calixto Ortega Rios and Second Secretary Monica Alejandra Sanchez Morales at the Washington embassy and Consul Marisol Gutierrez de Almeida at the Houston consulate.
Shortly thereafter, the State Department appointed a new charge d’affaires in Caracas, Philip G. Laidlaw, a 21 year veteran of the Foreign Service. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Laidlaw was post’s Acting Deputy Chief of MIssion.
The embassy released a very short bio:
Phil Laidlaw joined the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer in 1992. His overseas assignments include Tirana, Sarajevo, Madrid, La Paz, and San Salvador. Laidlaw most recently served as the Deputy Director of the Office of Andean Affairs in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the Department of State. He has been in Caracas since June 2013.
Phil Laidlaw is from St. Augustine, Florida. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics at Wake Forest University in 1989 and received a Master’s in National Security Strategy from the National War College in 2011.
- Venezuela Kicks Out Top US Diplomat, Two Others For … Wait For It ….Blackouts! (diplopundit.net)
- US to expel Venezuelan diplomats (bbc.co.uk)
- U.S. expels three Venezuelan diplomats amid growing political row (miamiherald.com)
- Venezuela leader rejects cordial relations with US (miamiherald.com)