By Barry Ellsworth
Canada announced Monday it will not replace its ambassador in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas because of the “illegitimate and anti-democratic” re-election of President Nicolas Maduro.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada has also imposed a ban on any military ties with Venezuela. Canada is one of 14 countries in the Americas limiting diplomatic relationships with Venezuela because of the rigged election, held Sunday.
“The Maduro regime has shown itself unwilling to make any serious attempt to ensure the elections meet international democratic standards of freedom and fairness,” Freeland said in a statement.
Canada will now be represented by only a charge d’affaires in Caracas.
Canada’s downgrading of diplomatic ties with Venezuela comes as U.S. President Donald Trump levied new sanctions on the country Monday due to what it calls a fraudulent election.
Many other nations joined in condemning the Venezuelan election.
“The Maduro regime has once again failed its people by restricting Venezuelans’ rights and liberty and by preventing the free participation of opposition parties,” Freeland said.
Late last year, in another move designed to pressure the Venezuelan government to protect the human rights of its citizens, Canada banned 19 Venezuelan officials from the country, including Maduro, and also froze any assets they had in Canada.
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