Venezuela, El Salvador Expel Each Other’s Diplomats

November 4, 2019 Updated: November 4, 2019

CARACAS—Venezuela’s foreign ministry said on Nov. 3 it was expelling El Salvador’s diplomats from the country, in response to the Central American country’s decision to kick out their counterparts, who represent Venezuelan regime leader Nicolas Maduro.

In a statement, the ministry said it would give the diplomats 48 hours to leave. El Salvador President Nayib Bukele’s government doesn’t recognize Maduro as legitimate and said on Nov. 2 that it would receive a new diplomatic corps representing opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Guaido, who presides over the opposition-controlled National Assembly, in January invoked the South American country’s constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro stole the 2018 election. He has been recognized by dozens of Western countries, including the United States.

The Salvadoran move came less than a week after the U.S. government extended temporary protections for Salvadorans living in the United States by an extra year.

“Salvadoran authorities are breathing oxygen into the failing U.S. strategy of intervention and economic blockade against the people of Venezuela,” Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry said.

While most of Venezuela’s neighbors recognize Guaido and have called on Maduro to step down, Maduro has remained in power because of the backing of the armed forces and allies that include Russia, China, and Cuba.

Guaido on Nov. 3 thanked Bukele for his support.

“El Salvador has given a huge backing to the Venezuelan cause, isolating Maduro’s regime even more,” he wrote on Twitter.