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Since 2017, the relationship between the EU and Venezuela was beginning to strain after it became the first Latin American country to receive sanctions from the EU, including an arms embargo. The bloc announced new sanctions against 11 Venezuelan officials, bringing the total to 36.
Now President Maduro has retaliated by booting ambassador Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa out of the country as tensions continue to rise.
Mr Maduro said: “Who are they to try to impose themselves with threats.
“We will sort it out in 72 hours, she will be given a plane to leave, but we will arrange our things with the European Union.”
Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, Venezuela’s airspace is currently closed to commercial aeroplanes.
Opposition legislator Luis Parra, who is contesting the leadership of the opposition controlled National Assembly with its president Juan Guaidó, was among the officials who was given a sanction.
Mr Guaidó challenged Mr Maduro’s leadership in 2019 after declaring himself acting president after the socialist leader was dubbed a usurper by the National Assembly.
This year, Mr Parra declared himself National Assembly president after security forces blocked Mr Guaidó from entering the building during a re-election vote where he was expected to win.
According to reports, Mr Parra has also been linked to a corruption scandal relating to a food distribution program run by Mr Maduro’s government.
Last week, Venezuela threatened a “forceful response” to a US Navy Destroyer which entered the country’s territorial waters.
The US Southern Command said the American Navy missile destroyer USS Nitze had completed a “freedom of navigation” assignment near Venezuela’s coast.
Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino claimed the incident was an act of provocation.
He said: “A US Navy destroyer approached within 30 miles [48 kilometres] off the coast, in a clear act of provocation.
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“It cannot be termed otherwise, it is a clear defiant act.”
In addition, he warned that if the US battleship carried out military operations in Venezuelan waters, they would receive a response from their armed forces.
Relations between the US and Venezuela have also been strained as Washington branded several top Venezuelan leaders, including Mr Maduro, as narco-terrorists.
Washington also filed federal warrants against them, with multi-million bounties for their arrest.
However, Mr Maduro has disputed the claims and accused the US of “false charges” and argued Venezuela had been fighting against legal drug trafficking for 15 years.
Washington has also imposed harsh economic sanctions on Venezuela in its efforts to oust Mr Maduro.
Some of the US’ penalties included the freezing of US-based assets of the national oil and gas company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
US President Trump previously vowed to never meet with Mr Maduro unless it was only to talk about his resignation.
“Unlike the radical left, I will ALWAYS stand against socialism and with the people of Venezuela,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“My Admin has always stood on the side of FREEDOM and LIBERTY and against the oppressive Maduro regime!
“I would only meet with Maduro to discuss one thing: a peaceful exit from power!”
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