Venezuela breaks off diplomatic relations with US
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on Wednesday that the country has cut off diplomatic relations with the United States, giving American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announces he is breaking relations with the U.S., to supporters from a balcony at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. [Photo: AP]
Earlier that day, US President Donald Trump said that the United States had recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan 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."