Venezuela Gives El Salvador’s Diplomats 48 Hours to Head Home

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela gave El Salvadoran diplomats just 48 hours to leave the country after a similar move by El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele.

The meltdown in foreign relations came amid an ongoing power struggle between sitting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself president and says Maduro’s administration is illegitimate.

El Salvador is awaiting new diplomatic representation from Guaido in the near future, according to a statement from the president’s office late Saturday. Bukele also gave Venezuelan diplomats 48 hours to leave.

“The government of President Nayib Bukele recognizes the legitimacy of Interim President Juan Guaido, while free elections are held in accordance with the Venezuelan constitution,” the statement read. “El Salvador will always be in favor of democracy and will defend human rights.”

Bukele responded to Venezuela’s announcement with a tweet on Sunday saying that he had forgotten to mention that his government had not named a single diplomat in Venezuela and that Maduro had kicked out the team named by his predecessor. He finished the tweet with an emoji crying with laughter.

Seven countries have pulled their ambassadors from Venezuela since 2018, when Maduro organized presidential elections that were criticized by many as illegitimate.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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