Caracas (AFP)

EU ambassador to Caracas, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, will leave Venezuela on Tuesday after being expelled by the government in response to new sanctions, a European diplomatic source said Saturday.

The order came Wednesday for Brilhante Pedrosa, who is Portuguese, to depart within 72 hours after the EU imposed new sanctions on 19 high-ranking Venezuelan officials for “undermining democracy”.

But she will leave on March 2 due to the “purely logistical reasons” of lack of flights out of Caracas, the source told AFP.

She had served as EU ambassador to Caracas since October 2017, but the government of Nicolas Maduro declared her persona non grata on Wednesday.

The EU responded a day later by declaring Venezuela’s representative to the bloc, Claudia Salerno, as persona non grata.

The EU has now ordered sanctions against a total of 55 Venezuelan officials.

The EU expanded its sanctions list after rejecting a December legislative election that saw Maduro win control of parliament after an opposition boycott.

Following disputed elections in 2018, Maduro’s own claim to the Venezuelan presidency was rejected by the EU, the United States and some 50 other countries. They consider Juan Guaido to be the country’s legitimate head of state.

© 2021 AFP

Source: – France 24