Canadian government retaliates by expelling Venezuelan diplomat
Chargé d'affaires Craig Kowalik declared persona non grata over the weekend
Canada will expel a Venezuelan diplomat and bar that country's ambassador from returning, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday after the South American nation booted envoys from Brazil and Canada for criticizing its rights record.
Western nations and Latin American neighbours have been increasingly critical of President Nicolas Maduro this year, accusing him of stamping on democracy and human rights. Venezuela accuses foreign governments of trying to encourage a right-wing coup.
Canada's chargé d'affaires Craig Kowalik was declared persona non grata over the weekend.
Venezuela had already withdrawn its ambassador in protest over Canadian government sanctions imposed in September against the Maduro regime.
In a statement, Freeland said the ambassador was no longer welcome in Canada and that Venezuelan chargé d'affaires is persona non grata.
Freeland said Venezuela's expulsion of the Canadian diplomat over the weekend was "typical of the Maduro regime, which has consistently undermined all efforts to restore democracy and to help the Venezuelan people.
"Canadians will not stand by as the government of Venezuela robs its people of their fundamental democratic and human rights, and denies them access to basic humanitarian assistance," she said in the statement.
Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs on expulsion of Canadian chargé d’affaires by Venezuelan government <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Venezuela?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Venezuela</a> <a href="https://t.co/aoysCorrBw">https://t.co/aoysCorrBw</a>—@CanadaFP