LIMA (AFP) – Peru on Friday ordered the expulsion of Venezuela’s ambassador over his country’s “break with democratic rule” under President Nicolas Maduro, and Caracas followed hours later with its own tit-for-tat response.
Ambassador Diego Molero has five days to leave Peru, the foreign ministry said.
In Venezuela, the government responded by expelling Lima’s top envoy Carlos Rossi, with the same deadline given.
“In light of the measure adopted by the Peruvian government, we find ourselves in the lamentable obligation to expel the charge d’affaires of Peru in Venezuela,” a Venezuelan foreign ministry statement read.
It labelled Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski as an “enemy” of Venezuela, accusing him of “continually interfering” in the country’s internal affairs.Peru’s decision came days after its congress voted for the Venezuelan envoy to be kicked out.
“The Peruvian government ratifies its firm position of continuing to contribute to the restoration of democracy in Venezuela,” a statement said.
On Tuesday, Peru and 11 other major nations in the Americas, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile and Mexico, slammed Caracas for undermining democracy by establishing a new, all-powerful assembly of Maduro loyalists to override the opposition-controlled legislature.
The United States has separately slapped sanctions on Maduro and on several members of the assembly for setting up what it calls a “dictatorship.”