BRASILIA – The Brazilian government declared on Monday persona non grata the charge d’affaires at the Venezuelan Embassy in Brasilia, Gerardo Antonio Delgado Maldonado, as a reprisal for the same decision by Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly with regard to the Brazilian ambassador in Caracas.
The decision obliges Delgado Maldonado to leave Brazil in a period of time not yet determined, a spokesperson for the Brazilian Foreign Ministry told EFE.
“This is a decision adopted out of simple reciprocity,” the spokesperson said.
The Brazilian Foreign Ministry announced Friday that it had learned its ambassador to Caracas was declared persona non grata and only waited for official notice to apply the same measure.
The Venezuelan government, following the National Constituent Assembly’s decision, ordered Saturday the expulsion of the Brazilian ambassador in Caracas, Ruy Carlos Pereira.
Delgado Maldonado is the current Venezuelan representative in Brasilia because Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the return to Caracas of his ambassador, Alberto Castellar, in May 2016, when then-Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was impeached following a political trial in Congress for fiscal irregularities.
Maduro then branded as illegitimate the government of Michel Temer, the vice president who took office following Rousseff’s departure and was the reason given by the National Constituent Assembly for declaring persona non grata the Brazilian ambassador in Caracas.
Relations between Brazil and Venezuela, which were very close during the governments of Hugo Chavez and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, have deteriorated significantly during the presidency of Temer, a harsh critic of the Maduro regime who demands the neighboring country’s return to democracy if it is to be allowed back into Mercosur, from which it was suspended last August.
In a statement last week, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said that upon confirmation of its ambassador being declared persona non grata in Venezuela, the “authoritarian character of the Nicolas Maduro administration” would be demonstrated once more.