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    Panama Revokes Credentials of 14 Venezuelan Diplomats – Foreign Ministry

    © REUTERS / Carlos Jasso
    Latin America
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    MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – The Panamanian authorities decided on Saturday to revoke the credentials of 14 Venezuelan diplomats appointed by President Nicolas Maduro, Panama’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    “This measure is taken a day after illegal detention of Roberto Marrero, chief of the cabinet of [self-proclaimed] President [Juan] Guaido. This move is undermining the peace process in the country,” the statement noted.

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    The Panamanian Foreign Ministry stressed that the decision had not affected consular employees of the Venezuelan Embassy.

    According to the statement, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela accepted credentials from Fabiola Zavarce, who is an envoy of Guaido.

    “That is why the foreign ministry started to revoke credentials of former Ambassador Duran Centeno,” the statement added.

    This comes after on Thursday, the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service of Venezuela (SEBIN) detained Marrero and Sergio Vergara, two close associates of Guaido. Two rifles and a grenade were subsequently found in Marrero's house. Vergara was released later on Thursday while Marrero is still in custody.

    Since January, Venezuela has been facing a political crisis. On 5 January, Juan Guaido was elected the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, which all other government branches have been refusing to recognize since 2016. On 23 January, two days after the Venezuelan Supreme Court annulled his election, Guaido declared himself the country's "interim president." Venezuelan President Maduro, who was sworn in for his second presidential term on 10 January after winning the May election, which part of the opposition boycotted, qualified Guaido's move as an attempt to stage a coup orchestrated by Washington.

    The United States immediately recognised Guaido, after which some 50 other countries, including Panama, followed suit. Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia and a number of other states have, in the meantime, voiced their support for the legitimate government of Maduro. Mexico and Uruguay have refused to recognise Guaido, declaring themselves neutral and promoting crisis settlement via dialogue.


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    Venezuela crisis, Venezuelan Supreme Court, Nicolás Maduro, Juan Carlos Varela, Panama, Venezuela
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