Tired of Regional Critics, Venezuela Looks to Russia and China

Last Thursday, Delcy Rodríguez, the president of Venezuela’s national Constituent Assembly, chided Mr. Robinson, saying he had “arrived to our country on the wrong foot!”

Then, over the weekend, Ms. Rodríguez, Venezuela’s former foreign minister, announced that the top diplomats from Canada and Brazil had been designated persona non grata. In diplomatic parlance, that gesture typically signals that an envoy is being expelled in protest over something. The announcement followed the two countries’ criticism last week of the Maduro government’s decision to prevent opposition parties from competing in next year’s election.

Ms. Rodríguez said the Canadian chargé d’affaires, Craig Kowalik, was being punished for his “permanent, insistent and rude meddling in the internal affairs of Venezuela.” As for the blacklisting of Ambassador Rui Pereira of Brazil, Ms. Rodríguez cited last year’s impeachment of Brazil’s leftist president, Dilma Rousseff, who was replaced by a leader who took a tougher line on Venezuela.

Canada on Monday took reciprocal action, declaring that Venezuela’s top diplomat in Ottawa would be expelled.

“Canada 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,” Canada’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Photo

Mr. Maduro, center, presided over a meeting this month with Igor I. Sechin, left, the chief executive officer of the Russian state-run oil company, Rosneft. Russia negotiated the right to develop two offshore Venezuelan gas fields.

Credit
Reuters

Brazil on Tuesday said it intended to expel Gerardo Delgado, Venezuela’s top envoy in Brasília. Over the weekend, Brazil’s Foreign Ministry had said that the reported expulsion of Ambassador Pereira underscored the “autocratic nature” of…

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