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US Refuses To Withdraw Diplomats From Venezuela, "Will Take Appropriate Actions" If Harmed
23 January, 2019
In what may shape up to be a major international incident over the next 48 hours, the United States has refused to withdraw diplomats from Venezuela, saying in a Wednesday evening statement that the US "stands with interim President Juan Guaido," adding "The United States does not recognize the Maduro regime as the government of Venezuela. Accordingly the United States does not consider former president Nicolas Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the United States or to declare our diplomats persona non grata.
14 other countries have similarly recognized Guaido.
Cuba and Bolivia, meanwhile, have expressed support for Maduro - while Mexico remains on the fence, supporting the empanada-eating Maduro "for now."
Guaido - who swore himself in as acting president of Venezuela earlier Wednesday, asked all embassies to "maintain their diplomatic presence in the country."
The United Nations is monitoring the situation according to UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq during a Wednesday briefing.
"The United Nations firmly rejects any kind of political violence. We underline the urgent need for all relevant actors to commit to inclusive and credible political negotiations to address the challenges facing the country, with full respect for the rule of law and human rights," said Haq in a statement.
Venezuelans, meanwhile, took to the streets en masse during a day of unrest in which pro-Maduro forces fired live rounds into the crowds killing several people.