Venezuela Cuts Ties With Panama
Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro said he cuts the diplomatic and commercial ties with Panama, because of “a conspiracy” against him.
In a speech marking the anniversary of the death of his predecessor Hugo Chavez, Maduro said Panama was trying to pressure him.
The decision comes after Panama requested a meeting at the Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss Venezuela's crisis.
At least 18 people have died in anti-government protests in Venezuela in the last month.
"I've decided to break political and diplomatic ties with the current government of Panama and freeze all trade and economic relations from this moment on," Maduro told the presidents of Cuba, Raul Castro, Uruguay, Jose Mujica, and Bolivia, Evo Morales, among other leaders gathered around the tomb of Chavez.
Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli expressed surprise at Venezuela's decision.
"Panama only hopes that this brother nation finds peace and strengthens its democracy," Martinelli wrote on Twitter.