Venezuela cuts diplomatic ties after US recognizes opposition leader

Source:CGTN Published: 2019/1/24 9:25:19


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday 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, Maduro said he would give US diplomatic personnel 72 hours to leave Venezuela, which is suffering from a hyperinflationary economic collapse.

Trump said on Wednesday that the United States had recognized Guaido as the nation's "interim president," a move that came after Nicolas Maduro was inaugurated as president of the Latin American country earlier this month.

"Today, I am officially recognizing the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela," Trump said in a statement issued by the White House.

Trump added that the United States would continue to use economic and diplomatic power to press for "the restoration of Venezuelan democracy."

Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, declared himself "interim president" of Venezuela earlier Wednesday.

Venezuela's incumbent President Maduro was elected last year with 67.84 percent of the votes, and he was sworn in as president on Jan. 10 for another six-year term.

Also on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated in a statement that the United States would cooperate with other members of the international community to deal with the situation in Venezuela.

Last week, Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza denounced that Pompeo led "a criminal economic blockade and an operation of international aggression against Venezuela." 

(Top image: Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's president (L) and Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Constituent Assembly, arrive for a state of the union address in Caracas, Venezuela, January 14, 2018. /VCG Photo) 

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