WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States said Thursday that Nicaragua has expelled three American government officials.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said the officials were kicked out of the Central American country Tuesday. He said such action could set back U.S.-Nicaraguan relations on trade and other matters.
Kirby said the officials were on temporary duty status in Nicaragua and only recently arrived there.
Later Thursday, the Nicaraguan government released a statement it said it had sent to the State Department about what it called an "unfortunate incident." It said two of the U.S. officials expelled were conducting anti-terrorism and anti-drug work in the customs field without the approval of the Nicaraguan government. It did not reference the third official.
Kirby said the U.S. has complained to Nicaragua's ambassador in Washington, Francisco Campbell. He wouldn't say if the U.S. might take reciprocal action.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has long had a difficult relationship with the United States, dating back to Nicaragua's Contra War of the 1980s. After returning to power in 2007, Ortega allied himself with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and other opponents of U.S. foreign policy.