Venezuela is expelling El Salvador's diplomats from the country, in a reciprocal move after the Central American country's decision to expel diplomats representing the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s foreign ministry said on Sunday November 3rd, Reuters reported.
Venezuela will give the diplomats 48 hours to leave, the ministry said in a statement.
Late on Saturday November 2nd, El Salvador ordered Venezuela's diplomats to leave the country, in line with President Nayib Bukele's position that the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro is illegitimate, and said it would receive a new diplomatic corps representing opposition leader Juan Guaido.
In January, Guaido who presides over the opposition-controlled National Assembly, appealed to the South American country's constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro fixed the 2018 election. Guaido has been recognised by more than 50 countries, including the United States, as Venezuela's legitimate acting president.
The Salvadoran move came less than a week after the US government extended temporary protections for Salvadorans living in the United States by an extra year.
Venezuela's ministry said, "Salvadoran authorities are breathing oxygen into the failing US strategy of intervention and economic blockade against the people of Venezuela."
Maduro describes Guaido as a US puppet seeking to oust him in a coup and blames US sanctions for the hyperinflationary economic collapse that has led to a humanitarian crisis.
Before his election in June, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele said he would maintain a "distant" relationship with Caracas and close ties with the United States, which has demanded Maduro's exit from power.
"The government of El Salvador expels the diplomatic corps from the regime of Nicolas Maduro," Bukele said late Saturday in a statement posted on his Twitter account.
US Ambassador Ronald Johnson reacted strongly to El Salvador’s decision. "We applaud the government of President Nayib Bukele for ensuring that El Salvador is on the right side of history," he said on Twitter.
Most of Venezuela's neighbours recognise Guaido and have called on Maduro to quit; but Maduro is still in power thanks to the backing of the armed forces and allies including Russia, China and Cuba.