TORONTO – Canada announced on Monday that the decision to expel the Venezuelan embassy’s chargé d’affaires was taken in response to the Nicolas Maduro government after it declared a Canadian diplomat persona non grata.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the measure on Monday in a statement that also said the Venezuelan ambassador, whom Caracas withdrew from the country in protest against the sanctions adopted by Ottawa against the Maduro regime, “is no long welcome in Canada.”
“The Venezuelan government has announced that Canada’s chargé d’affaires in Caracas has been declared persona non grata and will be expelled from the country. This action is typical of the Maduro regime, which has consistently undermined all efforts to restore democracy and to help the Venezuelan people,” Freeland said.
“In response to this move by the Maduro regime, I am announcing that the Venezuelan ambassador to Canada – who had already been withdrawn by the Venezuelan government to protest Canadian sanctions against Venezuelan officials implicated in corruption and gross human-rights abuses – is no longer welcome in Canada. I am also declaring the Venezuelan chargé d’affaires persona non grata,” Freeland added.
The Canadian minister ended by saying that “we will continue to work with our partners in the region, including through the Lima Group, to apply pressure on the anti-democratic Maduro regime and restore the rights of the Venezuelan people.”
Last Friday, the speaker of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), Delcy Rodriguez, told the Brazilian ambassador to Venezuela, Ruy Pereira, and the Canadian chargé d’affaires in her country, Craib Kowalik, that each was now persona non grata.
Canada and Brazil have both been seen in recent months to support the Venezuelan National Assembly legislature with its opposition majority, and to oppose the establishment of the ANC, whose members belong entirely to the ruling party.
Canada organized last October the third meeting of the Lima Group, at which the Maduro government was harshly criticized and where it was decided to call on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to find solutions to the Venezuelan crisis.