Guatemala newly elected President Alejandro Giammattei said on Thursday that his country was cutting diplomatic ties with Venezuela and closing its embassy in Caracas, according to the Central American country’s state news agency.

“We have instructed the foreign minister that the only person left in the embassy in Venezuela should return and that we definitively end relations with the government of Venezuela,” the agency known as AGN quoted Giammattei as saying.

“We are going to close the embassy”, Giammattei added.

On Tuesday, Giammattei took to the office had already indicated he would cut ties upon assuming power.

The former surgeon and prison chief had run for the country’s top job three times before winning a runoff vote in August. A conservative politician who is opposed to same-sex marriage and abortion, Giammattei ran on a tough-on-crime platform that included reintroducing the death penalty.

Guatemala is also among the 10 most violent nations on the planet and nearly 60 per cent of its 16 million inhabitants are poor, most of whom are indigenous. One in four also lives in extreme poverty.

The ceremony was attended by the leaders of Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Ecuador.

Giammattei is the 11th President to take office since Guatemala became a democracy in 1986.