Canada has officially expelled the Venezuelan ambassador in response to Venezuela’s recent expulsion of the Canadian ambassador in an ongoing diplomatic tit-for-tat.
In a statement issued Christmas Day, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the move was reciprocal and followed Venezuela's continued violations of democratic norms.
"The Venezuelan government has announced that Canada’s chargé d’affaires in Caracas has been declared persona non grata and will be expelled from the country," Freeland wrote.
"This action is typical of the Maduro regime, which has consistently undermined all efforts to restore democracy and to help the Venezuelan people.
"Canadians will not stand by as the government of Venezuela robs its people of their fundamental democratic and human rights, and denies them access to basic humanitarian assistance.
"In response to this move by the Maduro regime, I am announcing that the Venezuelan ambassador to Canada – who had already been withdrawn by the Venezuelan government to protest Canadian sanctions against Venezuelan officials implicated in corruption and gross human-rights abuses – is no longer welcome in Canada. I am also declaring the Venezuelan chargé d’affaires persona non grata.
"We will continue to work with our partners in the region, including through the Lima Group, to apply pressure on the anti-democratic Maduro regime and restore the rights of the Venezuelan people."
Canadian Charge d'Affaires Craib Kowalik was expelled from Venezuela on Christmas Eve, National Constituent Assembly (ANC) President Delcy Rodriguez announced.
Rodriguez accused Ottawa of meddling in domestic politics, saying that Kowalik showed no restraint in his "permanent and insistent, rude and vulgar interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela."
Canadian officials, in step with U.S. President Donald Trump, have imposed sanctions on senior Venezuelan officials following the ANC election, warning they will continue to put pressure on "the anti-democratic Maduro regime."