Canada Temporarily Suspends Operations at Embassy in Venezuela - FM

The Canadian embassy in Caracas Venezuela is shown in a 2017 file

The Canadian embassy in Caracas Venezuela is shown in a 2017 file

Canada is among as many as 50 countries that have said Maduro stole last year's election and is no longer the legitimate leader of Venezuela.

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland announced the closure in a statement, saying it was due to Canadian diplomats being unable to have their visas renewed, which were set to expire at the end of the month, under Maduro's administration.

News that embassy operations were being put on hold came a day before Freeland was set to meet in NY with other members of the Lima Group - a bloc that includes more than a dozen Latin American countries opposing Maduro. She says they have no choice but to temporarily suspend operations immediately.

The Venezuelan foreign ministry has made no comment on the events.

Canada is part of a group of countries who believe Maduro's re-election past year was fraudulent.

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Canada has been at the forefront of an worldwide effort to recognize the Venezuelan opposition leader and head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the country's rightful leader.

Canada's suspension of embassy operations comes as Freeland and other Lima Group representatives are set to meet the International Contact Group on Venezuela (ICG) in NY on Monday to discuss the crises.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of Portugal and Uruguay will represent the ICG, while Peruvian Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio and Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero, along with Freeland will represent the Lima Group.

Canadians in Venezuela who need assistance can contact its embassy in Bogota, Colombia, the nation's travel advisory website said.

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