Robert HARNEIS - TDO- (FRANCE) -Venezuela foreign Ministry has declared the German ambassador, Daniel Kriener ‘persona non grata’ for ‘interference in its internal affairs’.

Germany’s envoy has become the first European diplomat to be expelled from the Latin American state amid the ongoing escalation of tensions between Caracas and Washington and its allies, supporting a self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido, who challenges the rule of elected leader Nicolas Maduro.

“Venezuela considers it unacceptable that a foreign diplomat … plays a public role on its territory, which is more typical of a political leader, who clearly supports the conspiracy agenda of the extremist parts of the Venezuelan opposition,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement explaining its decision.

Kriener was given 48 hours to leave the territory of Venezuela, the statement said. The ambassador’s actions “contradicted the essential norms … of diplomatic relations” and are considered “hostile and unfriendly,” the ministry said, adding that any interference in “matters of exclusive competence of Venezuelan people and authorities” would “not be tolerated.”

At the same time, Caracas said it is still ready to maintain a “respectful and cooperative relationship with all the governments of Europe” as long as they refrain from “encouraging a coup and violent actions,” as well as contribute to a “peaceful solution” of the Venezuelan political crisis and foster a dialogue between various Venezuelan political forces.

The ambassador, along with other European envoys and diplomats, went to the Caracas airport to support Guaido, who returned to Venezuela after a trip to several Latin American countries. The self-proclaimed “president” met with the leaders of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Ecuador in a bid to rally support for his cause. Guaido toured Latin America despite a court-imposed travel ban, which barred him from leaving Venezuela.

It is unclear why the German ambassador has been singled out so far. Previously the Venezuelan government has expelled all US diplomats but Washington refused to accept this and some diplomats remain in Caracas.

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