OTTAWA -- Canada today expelled the Venezuela ambassador and the Venezuela charge d'affaires in a tit-for-tat diplomatic move after Venezuela made a similar move over the weekend.
“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," said Chrystia Freeland, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“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.
“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to this move by the Maduro regime, I am announcing that the Venezuelan Ambassador to Canada – who had already been withdrawn by the Venezuelan government to protest Canadian sanctions against Venezuelan officials implicated in corruption and gross human rights abuses – is no longer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.
On Saturday, Venezuela took steps toward expelling Canadian charge d'affaires Craig Kowalik by declaring him persona non grata for tweeting "rude and vulgar" comments about Venezuela. The Twitter account belonging Kowalik contains no tweets, however.
“I would like to especially recognize the exceptional professionalism and dedication of all Canada’s staff working in Venezuela," said Freeland. “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.”