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Canada temporarily closing Venezuela embassy effective immediately

The Canadian embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, is shown in a 2017 file photo. The Canadian government is shutting down the embassy effective immediately.
The Canadian embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, is shown in a 2017 file photo. The Canadian government is shutting down the embassy effective immediately. EPA/MIGUEL GUTIERREZ

Canada is shutting down its embassy in crisis-stricken Venezuela because diplomats will no longer be able to obtain credentials, the Canadian government says.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement Sunday that the Nicolas Maduro regime has taken action to prevent foreign embassies from functioning in Venezuela, “particularly those advocating for the restoration of democracy.”

READ MORE: Oil and migration: why the U.S. is heavily involved in Venezuela’s crisis

The diplomats’ visas will expire at the end of the month, she said.

“Therefore, we are left with no choice but to temporarily suspend our operations at the Embassy of Canada to Venezuela, effective immediately,” she said.

Canada is also looking at the status of Venezuelan officials in Canada who were appointed by Maduro.

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Canada is among many western nations supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido’s claim to the country’s leadership. He declared himself interim president in January after Maduro’s re-election was condemned as illegitimate.

The country, which was already facing a mass exodus due to an economic crisis, has plunged into chaos since.

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The Canadian government has advised against travel to Venezuela for months. Canadians in Venezuela can receive consular assistance at the embassy in Colombia or by contacting Global Affairs Canada.