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Brazil orders Venezuela's top diplomat to leave country

Brazil has expelled Venezuela's charge d'affaires, a retaliatory move after its envoy was expelled last week from Caracas. Canada has also ordered Venezuela's ambassador to leave his post.

Ruy Pereira Brazil's ambassador in Venezuela

Ruy Pereira, Brazil's former ambassador to Venezuela, was expelled by the Maduro regime.

Venezuela's ambassador to Brazil, Gerardo Delgado, was ordered to leave the country on Tuesday, in a tit-for-tat move by Brazil's government.

"Brazil has decided to declare the Venezuelan charge d'affaires persona non grata," said a Brazilian foreign ministry spokesman. "In practice, this means he will have to leave the country. It is a swift measure."

Read more: Brazil braced for influx of Venezuelan refugees

The move came in retaliation to Caracas' decision on Saturday to expel Brazilian ambassador Ruy Pereira.

Watch video 01:59

Venezuelans search for a better life in Brazil’s streets

The regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro views the Brazilian government under conservative Michel Temer as illegitimate, after leftist leader Dilma Rousseff was impeached last year.

Venezuela also finds itself in a similar diplomatic row with Canada. After the Maduro regime booted out the Canadian charge d'affaires from Caracas on Saturday, Ottawa responded Monday with similar measures.

The president of Venezuela's national constituent assembly justified the expulsions by accusing the Brazilian and Canadian diplomats of meddling in the country's domestic affairs.

Brazil is one of several neighboring Latin American countries to condemn Maduro's tightening grip on power in Venezuela, as well as his trampling over the country's democracy and human rights.

Read more5 things to understand about oil-rich, cash-poor Venezuela

Venezuela finds itself in the midst of a deepening political and economic crisis. The oil-rich nation has been suffering from crippling hyperinflation and dwindling supplies of basic goods, including food and medicine.

This year saw Venezuela's major cities repeatedly paralyzed by a series of anti-government protests. More than 160 people are believed to have died in the demonstrations.

dm/jm (AP, AFP)