Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro says he is breaking off relations with the US. American diplomatic personnel have 72 hours to leave the country.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he was breaking diplomatic relations with the United States, after the Trump administration recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the South American country’s interim president.
Speaking to supporters outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, socialist leader Maduro said he would give U.S. diplomatic personnel 72 hours to leave Venezuela, which is suffering from a hyperinflationary economic collapse.
Earlier Wednesday, the Trump administration ratcheted up pressure on Maduro on Wednesday, announcing U.S. recognition of Guaido as interim president and signaling potential new sanctions against its vital oil sector.
With street protests against Maduro underway across Venezuela, Trump said the United States recognized Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled Congress, as the country’s leader and called socialist Maduro’s government “illegitimate.”
“I will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy,” Trump said in a statement, encouraging other governments in the Western Hemisphere to also recognize Guaido.
The administration had been waiting to issue its announcement after Guaido had been sworn in as the country’s temporary president on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Venezuelan opposition sympathizers had been urging Guaido to assume the presidency since Maduro was inaugurated to a second term on Jan. 10 following a widely boycotted election last year that the United States and many other foreign governments described as a fraudulent.
Guaido, a newcomer on the national scene who was elected to head Congress on Jan. 5, had said earlier he was willing to replace Maduro if he had the support of the military, with the aim of then calling for free elections.
U.S. officials in recent days had stated openly that Maduro no longer had a legitimate claim on power.
This story is developing.
Venezuela has been the example of what can happen to a country and the actions governments can take when things get bad.
Check out these other posts for more info:
2018 August – Venezuela slashes five zeros from its old currency, renaming it the Sovereign Bolivar and tying it to a state-backed cryptocurrency in a bid to tackle rampant hyperinflation.
The UN warns of a migration “crisis”, estimating that economic woes and food and medical shortages have caused more than two million Venezuelans to leave their country since 2014. Most are settling in nearby Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil, leading to tensions in the region.
2016 February – President Maduro announces measures aimed at fighting economic crisis, including currency devaluation and first petrol price rise in 20 years.
2016 September – Hundreds of thousands of people take part in a protest in Caracas calling for the removal of President Maduro, accusing him of responsibility for the economic crisis.
2014 February-March – Protests over poor security in the western states of Tachira and Merida spread to Caracas, where they win the backing of opposition parties and turn into anti-government rallies. The government accuses the opposition of seeking to launch a coup and breaks up the protests. At least 28 people die in the violence.
2013 September – A massive power cut leaves 70% of Venezuela, including parts of Caracas, without electricity. President Maduro blames “right-wing saboteurs”.
2013 November – With inflation running at more than 50% a year, the National Assembly gives President Maduro emergency powers for a year, prompting protests by opposition supporters. Mr Maduro uses the powers to limit profit margins.
2013 December – The ruling Socialist Party and allies win local elections by a margin of 10% in a poll widely seen as a test of the government’s handling of the continuing economic crisis.
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