Jan 17, 2020 12:31 UTC
  • Guatemala cuts ties with Venezuela in kowtow to US

Guatemala's newly-elected President Alejandro Giammattei has severed diplomatic relations with Venezuela, a move that was swiftly censured by the government in Caracas for being an act of subservience to the US administration.

Giammattei ordered Guatemala's foreign secretary on Thursday to recall the last person remaining in the country's embassy in the Venezuelan capital and close the diplomatic building.

“We have instructed the foreign minister that the only person left in the embassy in Venezuela should return, and that we definitively end relations with the government of Venezuela,” Giammattei said. “We are going to close the embassy.”

The announcement came two days after the new president’s inauguration and his meeting with the head of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro.

The conservative, who took office on Tuesday, had already indicated he would break off ties with Caracas upon assuming power and the OAS has also recognized the Venezuelan opposition figure, Juan Guaido, as the country’s president.

Jorge Arreaza, Venezuela's foreign minister, stressed that Giammattei was "throwing himself at the feet of [US President] Donald Trump" and said the Guatemalan's presidency was destined to "become another joke in bad taste."

Venezuela plunged into political turmoil last January when Guaido declared himself “interim president” of the country, rejecting the outcome of the May 2018 election, which incumbent President Nicolas Maduro had won.