Caracas: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said Wed. Caracas is breaking diplomatic relations with the US, giving American diplomatic personnel 72 hours to leave the country.
Maduro stressed that the US had attempted to stage a coup in Venezuela, and vowed to fight for the Venezuelan people’s right to peace and a sovereign government of their choosing.
The US has, however, said it will keep its diplomats in Venezuela, saying Maduro has no longer any legal authority to break diplomatic ties with Washington.
Earlier in the day, US President Donald Trump recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president of the country, after Guaido, president of the recently disempowered National Assembly, took his own oath of office and declared himself interim president of Venezuela. The act followed the National Assembly’s adoption on Tuesday of a statement accusing Maduro of “usurping” power and declaring all his decisions void. Maduro replied he would hold the National Assembly accountable for ridiculing the country’s constitution.
Meanwhile, media reports have suggested that the United States is considering imposing an oil embargo against Venezuela if Maduro takes drastic action to defend his government. Trump, asked by White House reporters Wednesday afternoon if he was considering sending the US military to Venezuela, replied that nothing was being considered, but that all options were on the table.
Earlier, the chief of the Organisation of American States, which includes 35 countries from both North and South America, also recognized Guaido as the Venezuelan president.
Meanwhile, Iran has voiced support for the Venezuelan government against US unlawful interventions. In a statement on Jan. 19, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said, “we believe that the solution to domestic problems of Venezuela can only be resolved through dialog among domestic political forces within the legal framework of this country,” deeming any kind of foreign intervention in internal affairs of Venezuela ‘unconstructive’ which further complicates and aggravates the situation.