Germany to reduce consular staff in Venezuela over living conditions

Berlin (dpa) – Germany’s Foreign Ministry is reducing the number of employees working at its embassy in Caracas, citing the difficult living conditions under Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.A spokesman for the ministry confirmed the move on Wednesday, saying the possibility of a security threat for employees was another consideration. He did not specify the number of employees that would return. “The situation in Venezuela is escalating, especially the humanitarian situation in the capital,” the spokesman said. “Groceries, drinking water and medical provisions have been affected. We are hearing of lootings with casualties due to the deteriorating medical provisions,” he added.

The spokesman said that Daniel Kriener, the German ambassador to Venezuela who has been declared persona non grata in the country, had returned to Berlin and held talks with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas earlier on Wednesday. Kriener was expelled from the country earlier this month for allegedly interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs. A German journalist who has been in detention in Venezuela since the beginning of last year, Billy Six, has been visited by a consular member of staff, the spokesman said. He faces charges of espionage and rebellion.

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