Venezuela expels Spanish ambassador after European Union sanctions

Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guards officers control shoppers as they line up outside a supermarket to buy food at discounted prices in Caracas on Jan. 6

Spain on Friday ordered Venezuela's ambassador to leave in a tit-for-tat move, escalating a row a day after its top diplomat was kicked out by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's regime.

Earlier on Friday Spain, a prominent supporter of the new European Union sanctions, declared Venezuela's ambassador to Madrid "persona non grata" following an equivalent move by the Caracas government on Thursday.

Spanish foreign minister Alfonso Dastis said the decision was regrettable.

Announcing his would-be candidacy on Wednesday, Falcon said the government was incapable of resolving the country's crisis: "We need to get rid of this rubbish government, democratically".

The Venezuelan ambassador is not now in Spain, because he had been recalled for consultations with the Venezuelan government, de Vigo noted. Venezuela accused Fernández of interfering in the country's internal affairs, allegations which Spain rejected, the BBC reported.

The EU earlier imposed sanctions on senior officials of the socialist government. Trump says solar tariffs will boost jobs MORE (R-Fla.) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezJustice Dept intends to re-try Menendez in corruption case DACA is neither bipartisan nor in America's interest Senate DACA deal picks up GOP supporters MORE (D-N.J.) in a letter on Thursday urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: If there's no wall, there's no DACA fix Trump appears to call out Samsung over missing Federal Bureau of Investigation text messages Trump Commerce pick told lawmakers he would look at reversing Obama move on internet oversight: report MORE to take up action on Venezuela and its president, Nicolás Maduro.

"What does Mariano Rajoy want?"

The seven include former president of the national assembly, Diosdado Cabello, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol and the chief justice of the supreme court, Maikel Moreno.

Spain has responded to Venezuela's expulsion of Ambassador to Caracas Jesus Silva Fernandez by declaring Venezuelan Ambassador Mario Isea "persona non grata".

The European Union (EU) said the officials were all "involved in the non-respect of democratic principles or the rule of law as well as in the violation of human rights".

"By deciding to exclude. the Venezuelan opposition Mesa de Unidad Democratica (MUD), the Venezuelan authorities have again undermined the fairness of these elections, after having changed the electoral calendar without concertation with the opposition", a foreign ministry statement said.

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