State Department orders departure of non-emergency personnel from Venezuela

Jan 26, 2019, 00:31
State Department orders departure of non-emergency personnel from Venezuela

"Here we have dignity, damn it", Maduro said, giving USA diplomats 72 hours to depart.

The department says it's taking the step for security reasons and that the embassy in Caracas will stay open.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to brief the United Nations Security Council on Saturday and urge members to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the oil-rich nation's legitimate head of state, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Luis Montilla, a steelworker, sees the American pronunciation as a violation of their sovereignty, and said, "the United States can't impose a president on Venezuela..."

Although it stopped short of following Washington and recognizing Guaido as interim president, it called on the authorities in Venezuela to respect his "civil rights, freedom and safety" and appeared to support calls for a peaceful transition of power away from Maduro. Venezuela owes more than $20 billion.

Washington's reckless push for regime change in Venezuela, where the U.S. actively supports a person who "ignores all laws", might set a unsafe precedent, former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa told RT.

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The contractors are associated with the so-called Wagner group whose members, mostly ex-service personnel, fought clandestinely in support of Russian forces in Syria and Ukraine, according to Reuters interviews with dozens of contractors, their friends and relatives.

The Holness administration has not said whether it will order Venezuela to recall its ambassador to Kingston.

Several other countries have also declared they will recognise Mr Guaido as Venezuela's interim president.

Turkey has been refining and certifying Venezuelan gold since past year after Maduro switched operations from Switzerland, fearing Venezuelan gold could end up being impounded.

Wilmer Guaido, a taxi driver on the island of Tenerife, told private Antena 3 television Friday that Venezuela's armed forces should be loyal to the country, but not to a specific leader.

Vladimir Padrino Lopez, the country's defense minister who controls Venezuela's powerful military, said Thursday that Maduro was the "legitimate president".

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"(Simon) Bolivar used to curse against soldiers who give their back to the people", Guaido said, referring to Venezuela's independence hero.

In an address Thursday, Maduro recalled the long history of heavy-handed USA interventions in Latin America during the Cold War as he asked his allies for support.

He initially said he was open to discussing Brazil hosting a USA military base, before changing his mind when the idea sparked objections from his military brass.

The US, Canada and much of Latin America quickly threw their support behind Guaido. Many Venezuelans believed the election should not be recognized because Maduro banned his opponents from running against him.

"I think that in this developing situation the United States is trying to carry out an operation to organise the next colour revolution in Venezuela", said Andrei Klimov, Russia's deputy chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Upper House of Parliament.

Millions of Venezuelans have fled the country in response to crippling living conditions, and analysts blamed experienced oil workers leaving the country for crude output dropping so dramatically in recent years.

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