Maduro cuts diplomatic ties with Colombia

The move comes amid protests rocking Venezuela over foreign humanitarian aid delivery

Photo: EPA President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela's embattled President Nicolas Maduro has announced he had cut diplomatic ties with Colombia amid escalating tension over an opposition-led effort to bring foreign aid across the countries' mutual border. In a statement on Saturday, said that in line with his decision all Colombian diplomats had been ordered to leave Venezuela within the next 24 hours.

"Patience is exhausted, I can't bear it anymore, we can't keep putting up with Colombian territory being used for attacks against Venezuela. For that reason, I have decided to break all political and diplomatic relations with Colombia's fascist government," Maduro said at a rally in Caracas, accusing in the meantime his Colombian counterpart Ivan Duque for participating in the forced delivery of US aid to its neighbour.

His announcement took place against a backdrop of deadly border clashes which saw two people killed in unrest near Brazil and at least 23 soldiers switching loyalties to opposition leader Juan Guaido amid an increasingly unpredictable and unruly fight for power in the oil-rich South American nation.

In response to Maduro's decision, Colombia's Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said Bogota did not recognise the "legitimacy" of the Venezuelan leader but would withdraw its diplomatic staff from Caracas as soon as possible in order to protect their "life and integrity".

The diplomatic spat came as protests against Maduro's rule convulsed Venezuelan border towns and the capital, Caracas, with security forces ordered to seal the country's entry and exit points in a bid to prevent food and medical supplies from crossing government blockades.

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