Peru ex­pels Venezue­lan am­bas­sador

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - FABIOLA SANCHEZ

CARACAS, VENEZUELA — The Peru­vian gov­ern­ment ex­pelled Venezuela’s am­bas­sador Fri­day as re­gional pres­sure built on Pres­i­dent Nicolas Maduro’s gov­ern­ment for al­legedly tram­pling his coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tional or­der.

Peru gave Am­bas­sador Diego Molero, a for­mer Venezue­lan de­fence min­is­ter, five days to leave the coun­try. As part of what it said was a firm com­mit­ment “to help re­store Venezuela’s democ­racy,” Peru’s ad­min­is­tra­tion also re­fused to ac­cept a diplo­matic protest made by Maduro over Peru host­ing for­eign min­is­ters from 17 re­gional na­tions who re­fused to rec­og­nize the new, loy­al­ist-packed spe­cial as­sem­bly that is to re­write the con­sti­tu­tion.

The diplo­matic ac­tion by Peru, which was the strong­est yet from a Latin Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment, came as the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion weighed putting eco­nomic sanc­tions on Venezuela to pun­ish Maduro for what Washington calls an il­le­git­i­mate power grab.

On Thurs­day, Trump said he dis­cussed Venezuela, along with North Korea and Afghanistan, in a se­cu­rity brief­ing with top na­tional se­cu­rity aides and Vice-Pres­i­dent Mike Pence. Pence is trav­el­ling to Colom­bia on Sun­day to be­gin a re­gional trip that may in­clude dis­cus­sions on how to deal with Maduro.

“We had some very good meet­ings, some very good ideas, very good thoughts, and a lot of de­ci­sions were made,” Trump said af­ter the brief­ing, with­out pro­vid­ing any de­tails.

Maduro has tried to de­flect the pres­sure from Washington, and on Thurs­day said he wants to meet with Trump, per­haps next month at the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly.

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