Caracas, June 3 (IANS) Canada has announced the ‘temporary’ suspension of its diplomatic operations in Venezuela, and said it would evaluate the status of diplomats appointed by President Nicolas Maduro’s government to Ottawa.
The Canadian Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, said in a statement released on Sunday by the Embassy of Canada in Caracas that the measure would take immediate effect immediately since the visas of Canadian diplomats ‘will expire’ at the end of June 2018, reports Efe news.
“As Venezuela slides deeper into dictatorship, and as Venezuelans continue to suffer at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime, the regime has taken steps to limit the ability of foreign embassies to function”, Freeland said.
Canada also said in the statement that it will continue “to stand up for the rights of the Venezuelan people and for a full return to democracy” in the South American country.
It added that consular assistance for Canadians in Venezuela will be provided at the Embassy of Canada in Bogota.
“For several months, we have advised Canadians to avoid all travel to Venezuela,” Freeland said.
Venezuela has been gripped by an acute political crisis since January, when Maduro was sworn in for a new six-year term that the opposition and majority of the international community do not recognize following what they called ‘fraudulent’ elections in May 2018.
In response, self-declared president Juan Guaido proclaimed an interim government which has the support of more than 50 countries, including the US, Canada, much of the European Union and many Latin American countries.
Guaido has promised that he would call elections once Maduro’s ‘usurpation’ of the presidency has ended.
Despite significant foreign support, Guaido has been unable to unseat Maduro, despite attempting to trigger a military uprising in April.