Caracas (AFP) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government escalated a diplomatic dispute with neighboring Brazil on Thursday, accusing him of putting Venezuelan diplomats under “undue pressure” to leave the country within 48 hours.
Brazil is one of about 60 countries that recognize opposition rival Maduro Juan Guaido as acting president of Venezuela and announce on March 5 that they order diplomats appointed by Maduro to resign.
The foreign ministry in Caracas accused Brazil of “trying to force the premature departure of Venezuela’s diplomatic and consular staff on May 2,” and said no talks had taken place during the exit.
“Venezuelan diplomatic and consular staff in Brazil will not abandon their functions under the pretext of international law,” Caracas’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
The government also accused Brazilian right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro of “subordination” in relations with the United States, which had implemented a series of economic sanctions against the Maduro regime.
Bolsonaro, the main US ally, last month ordered all Brazilian diplomats to withdraw from Venezuela.
Guaido supporters, who have appointed parallel diplomatic representatives in several countries, briefly occupied the Venezuelan embassy in Brasilia in November last year, but resigned after the Brazilian foreign ministry intervened.
The country’s National Assembly leader, Guaido declared himself president early last year after Maduro’s re-election a few months earlier was widely ridiculed for being cheated.
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