EU declares Venezuelan ambassador “persona non grata” in retaliation

The European Union (EU) on Thursday night declared Claudia Salerno Caldera, head of the Venezuelan Mission to the EU, persona non grata.

The tit-for-tat move followed Caracas’s announcement on Wednesday to expel the EU Ambassador to Venezuela Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa and give her 72 hours to leave.

“The EU considers this declaration as wholly unwarranted and contrary to the EU’s objective of developing relations and building partnerships in third countries,” said a statement issued by the EU Council.

Caldera said on Twitter overnight she defended Venezuela “by handling the relationship with the European Union with sobriety and respect,” but “the independence and sovereignty of our homeland are not negotiable.”

Venezuela’s decision came after the EU issued “55 decisions, what in the European Union or in the U.S. they call sanctions,” against Caracas, Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza said.

He described the actions of the European bloc as “interference,” noting the United Nations (UN) Charter only allows for coercive measures against countries at the approval of the UN Security Council.