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Venezuela Allows US Diplomats To Stay After Pompeo Draws A Hard Line

28 January, 2019, 02:25 | Author: Sara Gill
  • SA backs beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro

Venezuela's top military envoy to the United States defected from the government of President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday, as the South American nation said the two countries had scaled back their diplomatic missions to skeleton staff.

From an global standpoint, the time for dialogue seems to have passed, judging from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's address to the UN Security Council on Saturday, during which he urged members to back Mr Guaido's transitional government. No more delays, no more games. The United States, Canada and a string of Latin American countries recognized the young leader in quick succession. "Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem", Pompeo told the Security Council.

France and Britain joined Spain and Germany in turning up the pressure on Maduro, saying they would follow the US and others in recognizing Guaido as president unless Venezuela calls a new presidential election within eight days. "The intention of the United States is to orchestrate a coup d'etat", said Russia's UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia.

Yet Maduro recently argued that America's involvement in the rebellion against him entails more than after-the-fact support.

"I am not going to speculate or hypothesize on what the USA will do next", Pompeo later told reporters who asked for a response. He also had words for the U.S. secretary of state.

In heated back-and-forth exchanges at a United Nations Security Council meeting, the opposing camp led by Venezuela and Russian Federation, which has invested heavily in Venezuela's oil industry, accused Washington of attempting a coup, and lambasted Europeans' demand that elections be called within eight days.

He has however rejected an offer of talks with Maduro, saying he won't attend a "fake dialogue" on a crisis that has left 26 dead in clashes this week between anti-Maduro activists and security forces.

Guaido, who took the helm of the National Assembly on January 5, proclaimed himself interim president on Wednesday.

"Venezuela does not pose any threat to peace and security".

"Europe is giving us eight days?"

"Any violence and intimidation against US diplomatic personnel, Venezuela's democratic leader, Juan Guiado, or the National Assembly itself would represent a grave assault on the rule of law and will be met with a significant response", John Bolton said on Twitter. "Where do you get that you have the power to establish a deadline or an ultimatum to a sovereign people?"

Maduro himself came to Turkey a year ago after Erdogan's victory in the national and presidential elections, hailing the Turkish president as a "friend" of Caracas. "We don't want other countries to choose our leaders - so we have to stop trying to choose theirs". This is the USA supporting the people of Venezuela, who want their constitution and democracy followed.

But support for Maduro's rule is weaker among the rank and file, whose households are suffering from widespread shortages and hyperinflation like their civilian counterparts. "It's that simple, especially, when it comes to Venezuela", he added. The uprising was quelled and 25 guardsmen were arrested.



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