Venezuela to close consulates in Canada
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Venezuela to close consulates in Canada

The Venezuelan foreign ministry announced the decision on Saturday, saying its embassy in Ottawa will be responsible for handling all the affairs. Earlier this week, Canada announced it will temporarily suspend operations at the country’s embassy in Venezuela, blaming President Nicolas Maduro for refusing to accredit diplomats critical to its functioning. Venezuela slammed the decision, saying "far from being an administrative matter, is a political decision that reflects the continued hostility of that government toward Venezuela." Citing the principle of reciprocity, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said "it will temporarily stop providing services at its general consulates in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal." "All the functions of Venezuelan diplomacy in Canada will be concentrated at the headquarters of its embassy in Ottawa," it said. Venezuela has been in political chaos since opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself “interim president” in late January. He has received backing and encouragement from the US government along the way. Washington and its allies, including the government in Ottawa, have been encouraging Guaido’s attempts to topple Maduro with the US ratcheting up the support during an abortive coup that saw Guaido’s supporters spreading chaos across Venezuela in late April. The US has, meanwhile, been calling for withdrawal of Russian servicemen from Venezuela. Russia maintains about 1,000 military experts there as part of a mutual defense agreement.

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