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Venezuela expels Spanish ambassador after EU sanctions

By Daniel Uria
Venezuela expels Spanish ambassador after EU sanctions
Venezuela expelled Spanish ambassador Jesus Silva Fernandez on Thursday, following sanctions from the European Union. Photo by GMEVIPHOTO/Shutterstock

Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Venezuela expelled the Spanish ambassador to Caracas on Thursday in response to sanctions by the European Union.

The South American country declared Jesus Silva Fernandez persona non grata citing "interventions" and "continuous aggressions" committed by the Spanish government.

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The decision comes after Spaish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy endorsed EU sanctions including a travel ban and freezing assets of seven senior Venezuelan officials.

Venezuela's government released an official statement citing Rajoy's official visit to the U.S. in September to "receive outrageous instructions and submit to its designs with respect to Venezuela in exchange for inconsequential political and economic benefits."

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said it was time to "to put an end to the imperialist threat."

"Donald Trump won't make decisions in Venezuela, Mariano Rajoy won't make decisions in Venezuela. The people of Venezuela will," Maduro said.

The Spanish government rejected Venezuela's allegations and said it would reciprocate.

Venezuela expelled the Brazilian and the Canadian ambassadors to Caracas in December, citing interference and both countries responded by expelling their Venezuelan ambassadors.

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