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Venezuela expels Salvadoran diplomats, retaliating for similar move

VENEZUELA EL SALVADOR | 04 de noviembre de 2019

Caracas, Nov 3 (efe-epa).- The Venezuelan government on Sunday ordered El Salvador's diplomatic personnel to leave the country in a move based on the "principle of reciprocity" after the Central American country booted Venezuela's diplomats the evening before.

"Applying the principle of reciprocity, Venezuela is expelling the diplomatic personnel of El Salvador in Caracas. (Nayib) Bukele officially assumed the sad role of a pawn of US foreign policy, giving oxygen to (Washington's) strategy of aggression against the Venezuelan people," the foreign minister of the oil-producing nation, Jorge Arreaza, said on Twitter.

Arreaza shared a statement in which the Salvadoran diplomatic personnel are all declared persona non grata by the regime of Nicolas Maduro and given 48 hours to leave the country.

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry called the announcement by the Bukele government to expel its diplomatic contingent "unprecedented," adding that it is "clear" that Salvadoran authorities "are doing nothing else than supplying a tiny oxygen balloon to the ebbing US strategy of intervention and economic blockade against Venezuela."

The ministry also said that despite the announcement, Venezuela "will always be at El Salvador's service to consolidate peace, sovereignty, independence and integration," adding that "no passing farce will affect the deep and historic links that have united and will unite the Salvadoran people and the Venezuelan people."

According to the communique published by Bukele on the social networks, the expulsion of the Venezuelan diplomatic personnel accredited in his country comes as a result of rescinding recognition for "the legitimacy of the Maduro government," and in recognition of the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, the head of parliament, whose leadership has been recognized by some 50 nations around the world, including the US.

The decision also, according to the source, "is in concordance with the vote that the Salvadoran delegation made, along with 20 other members of the Organization of American States on August 28."

At that time, the OAS approved a resolution supporting the report of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, in which she stated that "the Nicolas Maduro regime is committing systematic human rights violations against Venezuelans."

On numerous occasions, Bukele, with the rightist GANA party, has issued statements against "the Maduro regime," and he made the decision not to invite the Venezuelan leader to his inauguration, which took place on June 1.

"Dictators like Maduro in Venezuela will never have any legitimacy because they maintain themselves in power by force and do not respect the will of their peoples," said Bukele a few days before his inauguration.

Meanwhile, Maduro - in Havana at the closing sesion of the Anti-imperialist Meeting for Solidarity, Democracy and against Neoliberalism - said that "it's shameful to see how a person who came to the presidency with some hope for the Salvadoran people melts in the face of imperialism," referring to Bukele.

Maduro, whose presence at the anti-imperialism forum had not been announced in advance, said that "no pipsqueak is going to separate the peoples of El Salvador and Venezuela," and he warned that "anyone who messes with us will dry up, and Bukele will dry up."

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