Brazil expels Venezuelan envoy in tit-for-tat move

Move follows Venezuela's expulsion of Brazilian ambassador and comes a day after Canada expelled Venezuelan envoy.

    Maduro has criticised the removal and impeachment of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff [Anadolu/Carlos Becerra]
    Maduro has criticised the removal and impeachment of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff [Anadolu/Carlos Becerra]

    Brazil has declared Gerardo Maldonado, Venezuela's top diplomat in the country, persona non grata in a tit-for-tat move that comes just days after Caracas expelled the Brazilian ambassador.

    Relations have worsened between the Latin American states since 2016 when Venezuela voiced criticism of the impeachment of leftist former President Dilma Rousseff, who was removed from office over financial misconduct allegations.

    A Brazilian foreign ministry official told the AFP that Maldonado would have to leave the country and that the decision was a "swift measure".  

    On Saturday, Venezuela expelled Brazil's chief diplomat Ruy Pereira, prompting an angry response from the Brazilians. 

    "Such decision would once again demonstrate the authoritarian nature of the Nicolas Maduro administration and its lack of willingness for any type of dialogue," Brazil's foreign ministry said in a statement before it had received confirmation.

    "Brazil will take corresponding reciprocity measures," it added.

    Canada spat

    The move by Brazil comes a day after Canada said it would expel a top Venezuelan diplomat and bar the South American country's ambassador from returning to Ottawa.

    The announcement by Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland on Monday came two days after Venezuela expelled Canada's top diplomat in Caracas for allegedly interfering in its domestic affairs.

    Earlier this year, following in the US footsteps, Canada had unveiled sanctions against 52 foreigners it deemed corrupt and accused of human rights violations.

    Among those sanctioned were Russian, South Sudanese and Venezuelan officials, including Maduro.

    In August, US President Donald Trump's government imposed sweeping financial sanctions on Venezuela, and labelled Maduro "a dictator".

    The measures banned US financial institutions from providing new money to Venezuela's government or the state oil company, while all of Maduro's assets subject to US jurisdiction were frozen, and Americans were barred from doing business with him.

    The sanctions drew an angry rebuke from Caracas, with Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza calling them the "worst aggression" against the country in two centuries.

    Maduro himself, however, said that the measures did not intimidate him "for a moment".

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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