Venezuela has severed relations with Colombia and has expelled all diplomats from its Embassy, President Nicolas Maduro has announced, during a rally in Caracas.
Maduro had earlier closed the border with Colombia as a response to attempts by the opposition to deliver trucks of ‘humanitarian aid’ from Colombia, in defiance of Caracas. A part of the border where a forced crossing might take place has been the scene of a tense confrontation between opposition activists and security forces all day.
Addressing a crowd of thousands of supporters, Maduro condemned his Colombian counterpart Ivan Duque for meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs.
“Patience is exhausted, I can’t bear it anymore, we can’t keep putting up with Colombian territory being used for attacks against Venezuela. For that reason, I have decided to break all political and diplomatic relations with Colombia‘s fascist government,” Maduro said, adding that the staff at the Colombian embassy has 24 hours to leave his country.
The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini confirmed the determination of the Foreign ministers to continue efforts for Venezuela crisis resolution through the international contact group. Apparently, the denial of entry to four Members of the European Parliament (MEP) will not deviate from the endorsed policy vis-à-vis Caracas.
Four Members of the European parliament (MEPs) from European People’s Party (EPP) were denied entry to Venezuela under “conspiratorial motives.” The calls of the leader of the EPP group Manfred Weber to “immediately” recognise Juan Guaido as the President of Venezuela, did not receive any response from the EU foreign ministers.
Esteban Gonsalez-Pons (Spain), José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra (Spain), Gabriel Mato (Spain), and Esther de Lange (NL) travelled to Caracas upon their own initiative in their individual capacity as MEPs.
The MEPs attempted to enter Caracas to meet with opposition leader Juan Guaidó, after the European Parliament last month recognized him as “interim head of state”.
Last month given the urgency of the situation in Venezuela the EU ministers decided to establish an international contact group on Venezuela (26.01.2019) that was agreed among EU Member States and with some Latin American countries.
The Foreign Minister of Spain Josep Borrell confirmed the intention to step up effort to resolve Venezuela crisis via contact group, as the EU major diplomatic tool. He also underlined that Juan Guaido is recognised an ‘interim President’ of the country.