Chief European Union diplomat in Venezuela leaves country

The chief European Union diplomat in Venezuela has left the country, a week after the government of Nicolás Maduro declared her persona non grata and ordered her expulsion

Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa tweeted a photograph of Caracas showing the mountain range that flanks the Venezuelan capital to the north and the message “infinite thanks to all Venezuelans for their affection.”

“I carry you all in so many beautiful memories. My heart stays here,” she wrote without giving details.

The move marked the second time in almost eight months that Brilhante Pedrosa was declared persona non grata and ordered to leave Venezuela. Both cases were related to the European Union sanctions against officials and allies of Maduro.

Last June, Brilhante Pedrosa was able to remain in Venezuela after the European Union high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza agreed on the need to maintain diplomatic relations.

Arreaza last week lamented that the sanctions were imposed again, saying Maduro had been “generous” to allow European diplomats to remain after many nations formally recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s rightful leader.

Guaidó, former president of the National Assembly, declared himself interim president in 2019 and was recognized by 60 countries as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, arguing that Maduro’s reelection in 2018 was fraudulent. However, Maduro has held power with the support of the military and Guaidó's movement has lost momentum.