Canada is temporarily closing its embassy in Venezuela effective immediately, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
Canada is among a group of mostly Western countries that have refused to recognize the legitimacy of Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro and have instead recognized the self-proclaimed president and leader of the Venezuelan opposition, Juan Guaido, as the country’s rightful leader until new elections can be held.
“As Venezuela slides deeper into dictatorship, and as Venezuelans continue to suffer at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime, the regime has taken steps to limit the ability of foreign embassies to function in Venezuela, particularly those advocating for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela,” Freeland said in a statement Sunday.
By the end of June, Canadian diplomats in Venezuela will no longer be in a position to obtain diplomatic accreditation and their visas will expire, Freeland said.
“Therefore, we are left with no choice but to temporarily suspend our operations at the Embassy of Canada to Venezuela, effective immediately,” she said.
“We are also evaluating the status of Venezuelan diplomats appointed by the Maduro regime to Canada.”
Canada continues to provide consular assistance to Canadians in Venezuela through in Bogotá, in Colombia, Freeland said. However, Canadians are advised to avoid all travel to Venezuela, she added.
Freeland announced Monday that she will attend a meeting of Lima Group members in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on Thursday, June 6, 2019, as the crisis in Venezuela continues to deepen.