BRUSSELS – The European Union condemned on Friday in the strongest terms the decision by Venezuela to expel the Spanish ambassador from the country and called on Venezuelan authorities to reverse the move.
Venezuela had declared diplomat Jesus Silva Fernandez “persona non grata” due to what it described as continuous aggressions and recurring meddling by the Spanish government in its affairs.
“The EU firmly condemns the Venezuelan authorities’ decision to declare the Spanish ambassador persona non grata,” said the European Commission’s spokesperson for foreign affairs, Catherine Ray.
“We express our full solidarity with Spain and call on Venezuela to reverse the decision, since it goes against the need to keep diplomatic channels open,” Ray added.
On Wednesday, the Venezuelan foreign affairs minister, Jorge Arreaza, said on Twitter that the South American country – a Spanish colony until its independence in 1821 – would not tolerate “aggressions from governments subordinated to American imperialism.”
A statement by the Venezuelan government blamed the deterioration in relations with Spain on remarks made by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy calling the new round of sanctions imposed by the EU on Venezuela as “very well deserved.”