Venezuela: Nicolas Maduro suspends order to expel American diplomatic personnel

Monday, 28 Jan, 2019

Venezuela has defused a potential showdown with the United States by suspending a demand that USA diplomats leave the country even as Washington called on the world to "pick a side" in the South American nation's fast-moving crisis.

Guaido, 35, declared himself interim president on Wednesday after Maduro was sworn in for a second term.

At a special UN Security Council session US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described Maduro as part of an "illegitimate mafia state" responsible for Venezuela's economic collapse.

The Saturday evening announcement that the missions would remain open was a retreat after days of bellicose rhetoric prompted by the US decision to recognize National Assembly leader Juan Guaido as the nation's rightful head of state.

Mr Guaido said mass protests were the only way to end Mr Maduro's "dictatorship". No more delays, no more games. The U.S. are painting a picture of a confrontation between the Maduro regime and the people of Venezuela.

Earlier this week, the U.S. declared support for Mr Guaido, and most Latin American nations and Canada have all said they back the 35-year-old opposition leader.

Russia's UN Ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, rejected that view, saying the United States was imposing its own "approaches and recipes" to resolve the problems on the ground in Venezuela.

China's UN Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu said his government "firmly opposed" the USA accusations and doesn't interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

In 1993, after a United Nations truth commission which examined 22,000 atrocities that occurred during the twelve-year civil war in El Salvador, attributed 85 per cent of the abuses to the Reagan-assisted right-wing military and its death-squad allies, assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Abrams said: "The administration's record on El Salvador is one of fabulous achievement".

Guaido said he is acting in accordance with two articles of the constitution that give the National Assembly president the right to hold power temporarily and to call for new elections.

The U.S.is instead seeking to steer Venezuela's overseas assets to Guaido to help bolster his chances of effectively taking control of the government.

Pompeo denounced Russian Federation and China, which have stood by Maduro, saying that they were "propping up a failed regime in the hopes of recovering billions of dollars in ill-considered investments and assistance made over the years".

Ma Zhaoxu, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, said that China opposes foreign interference in Venezuela's affairs.

Israel has recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president. "Where do you get that you have the power to establish a deadline or an ultimatum to a sovereign people".

"Our priority remains the safety and protection of our personnel and United States citizens overseas".

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza dismissed the deadline.

Maduro is accusing the opposition of working with the U.S.to overthrow him.

The United Nations political chief Rosemary DiCarlo warned council members that the situation is "cause for serious concern".

Supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaido and the press gather around him as he leaves a public plaza where he spoke in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019.