Canada is prohibiting its Venezuelan immigrants from voting in the coming May 20 presidential elections, Bolivarian Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said during a press conference Wednesday.
Canadian authorities said they will not allow Venezuelan embassies or consulates in the cities of Toronto, Ottawa or Vancouver to install polling stations.
"They denounce that there is a dictatorship in Venezuela, but who is denying the right to vote? Only dictatorship countries do not allow citizens to exercise their right to vote, so I ask if Venezuela – according to some world nations – is a dictatorship, how is it that today Canada intends to curtail the right to vote of Venezuelans?
"Who is preventing here the right to suffrage and to vote, the government of Venezuela or the government of Canada?" Arreaza said.
Esta es la nota diplomática a través de la cual el gobierno de Canadá pretende violar el de derecho al sufragio de más de 6 mil venezolanos que votan en ese país. Un hecho insólito, impedir el derecho al voto. Extraña diplomacia obsesiva. pic.twitter.com/JALxxvqLEL— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) May 17, 2018
Arreaza criticized Canadian authorities for interfering with the rights of over 5,000 registered voters to participate in Sunday's presidential elections. The minister told immigrants they will be able to vote, instructing embassies to disregard the host nation's orders and install polling stations as planned.
"The electoral material has been distributed in embassies and consulates so that Venezuelans abroad can exercise their right to vote," said Arreaza
Arreaza also said he would send a diplomatic notice to the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the interference attempt, which he called an unethical violation of international agreements and human rights.
"Let's work together for the common good of our peoples and of Latin American and Caribbean unity, that is our goal," said Arreaza, insisting the state would continue to fight the "unprecedented international pressure" which stems from U.S. cravings.
Canadian authorities, meanwhile, maintain that Venezuelan offices within the country are "obliged to comply and refrain from installing polling stations."