Washington escalates tension with Venezuela as Maduro asks U.S. diplomats to leave the country

Venezuela President Nicholas Madura ordered all U.S. diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours, but the U.S. State Department said it will not comply, ordering only non-essential diplomats to leave that country.

ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz commented that this order could become a dangerous standoff. “72 hours warning to American diplomats in Venezuela runs out this weekend, but some of them will remain, and the U.S. insists the embassy remains open,” she said.

“The U.S. said that the Maduro’s regime does not have the authority to order America’s diplomats out of Venezuela since the U.S. no longer recognises Maduro as a legitimate president.”

She added: “The Trump administration made it clear that in case any Americans were harmed, all options will be on the table. This is a very tense standoff which could have long term implications for Americans here at home. Venezuela depends on oil revenue from the U.S. and the latter’s sanction could hurt them, it could also mean an increase in energy prices in the U.S.”

Meanwhile, some US diplomats left the embassy compound in Caracas for the airport in a convoy escorted by Venezuelan police, Reuters reported.

Interim President Hides from Public Eye

U.S. President Donald Trump, Germany and U.K and many other neighbouring countries’ such as Brazil, Argentine, Colombia support Venezuela’s 35-year-old opposition leader Juan Guaido who declared himself as interim president, but he has disappeared from the public eye.

As Venezuela’s military leaders support embattled President Nicolas Maduro, Venezuelan people’s and the international community’s support seems inadequate for Guaido to topple Maduro.

Guaido earlier said that he needs support from three groups: The Venezuelan people, the international community, and the military.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans marched to support Guaidó as the country went through one of the world’s worst economic crises, with hyperinflation, food shortages and power cuts. Around 2.3 million Venezuelans have left their country since 2014.

Guaidó told the Univision TV Channel from an undisclosed location on Thursday that he would allow granting amnesty to Maduro and his military allies if he comes to power.

Despite U.S. and EU’s flagship countries move against Maduro, Russia and India continue their business with Maduro’s government.

Meanwhile High Representative Federica Mogherini made a written declaration on behalf of EU as: “The EU strongly calls for the start of an immediate political process leading to free and credible elections, in conformity with the Constitutional order” and “fully supports the National Assembly as the democratically elected institution whose powers need to be restored and respected.” on 23 January.

Russia offered on Friday to mediate between the government and opposition in Venezuela if necessary and Moscow is ready to cooperate with all political forces that acted responsibly, RIA news agency reported.

Trump backs Venezuela opposition, Turkey stays with Maduro

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