CARACAS, Venezuela — The Latest on Venezuela’s ongoing political crisis (all times local):
Venezuela is retaliating in kind for Peru’s expulsion of its ambassador.
Its foreign ministry said in a statement that it was giving the Peruvian diplomat who heads the country’s embassy in Venezuela five days to leave. Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who has led Latin America in taking on Maduro, recalled the country’s ambassador to Caracas after the government-packed supreme court took steps to shut down congress, which is controlled by Venezuela’s opposition.
The foreign ministry statement referred to Kuczynski as an “enemy” of Venezuela and Latin America unity while recalling the sacrifice made by Venezuelan soldiers led by Simon Bolivar who liberated both countries from Spain in the 19th century. The Peruvian leader, a former Wall Street investor who spent decades living in the U.S., is frequently mocked on Venezuelan state TV and was once even called the “empire’s lapdog” by the country’s foreign minister.
The foreign ministry said its expelled ambassador, Diego Molero, is already in Venezuela
Venezuela’s defense minister says that security forces have captured the mastermind of a failed assault on a military base a week ago.
Former national guard Capt. Juan Caguaripano was captured in Caracas along with an active-duty soldier who allegedly collaborated with a small group of civilians and former officers that last Saturday raided a major military base in Valencia and walked off with a cache of weapons.
Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino called the arrests a “major blow to the fascist terrorism put in place by the Venezuelan right-wing in the past few months” of anti-government protests.
Last Saturday’s attack left two people dead and came after Caguaripano, who went into exile after denouncing Maduro in 2014, released in a video in which he stood before a group of heavily-armed men in fatigues and called on the armed forces to rebel.