TORONTO (REUTERS) - Canada will expel a Venezuelan diplomat and bar that country's ambassador from returning, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Monday (Dec 25), after the South American nation booted envoys from Brazil and Canada for criticising its rights record.
Western nations and Latin American neighbours have been increasingly critical of President Nicolas Maduro this year, accusing him of stamping on democracy and human rights.
Venezuela says foreign governments are trying to encourage a right-wing coup.
Venezuela had already withdrawn its ambassador in protest over Canadian government sanctions against the Maduro regime imposed in September.
In a statement, Freeland said the ambassador was no longer welcome in Canada and that Venezuelan charge d'affaires is persona non grata.
Freeland said Venezuela's expulsion of the Canadian diplomat over the weekend was "typical of the Maduro regime, which has consistently undermined all efforts to restore democracy and to help the Venezuelan people."
"Canadians will not stand by as the Government of Venezuela robs its people of their fundamental democratic and human rights, and denies them access to basic humanitarian assistance," she said in the statement.