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Fears of US-Backed 'Coup' in Motion as Trump Recognizes Venezuela Opposition Lawmaker as 'Interim President' PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Posted by Joan Russow
Wednesday, 23 January 2019 18:38
Published on
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
byCommon Dreams
 
In response to Trump declaration, President Nicolas Maduro gives diplomats from 'imperialist' U.S. 72 hours to leave the country
 
byJon Queally, staff writer
 

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Venezuelan opposition leader and head of the National Assembly Juan Guaido declares self interim president as thousands of people protest against Nicolás Maduro on January 23, 2019 in Caracas, Venezuela. Many countries including the US, Canada and Chile have recognized officially recognized Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela. (Photo: Edilzon Gamez/Getty Images)

President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela officially cut off dipomatic ties with the U.S. government on Wednesday—and gave American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country—in response to President Donald Trump declaring formal recognition of an opposition lawmaker as the "Interim President" of Venezuela, despite not being elected by the nation's people for that position.

"They intend to govern Venezuela from Washington. Do you want a puppet government controlled by Washington?" 
—Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro
"Before the people and nations of the world, and as constitutional president," declared Maduro to a crowd of red-shirted supporters gathered outside the presidential residence in Caracas, "I've decided to break diplomatic and political relations with the imperialist U.S. government."

According to the Associated Press:

Maduro said in his speech the U.S. was making a "grave mistake" by trying to impose a president on Venezuela and rattled off a long list of countries — Guatemala, Brazil, Chile and Argentina—that saw leftist governments toppled or come under military rule during the Cold War with U.S. support.

In a prepared White House statement earlier in the day, Trump declared he was "officially recognizing the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela."

In addition to vowing to "use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power" to restore what he called "democracy" in the country, Trump also encouraged "other Western Hemisphere governments" to recognize Guaido. Shortly later, CBC Newsreported that Canada, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was making plans to follow Trump's lead.

In his remarks from Caracas, Maduro told his supporters "the very existence of our Bolivarian republic" was under threat and urged them to resist "at all costs" what he explicitly described as a "coup" attempt by the "interventionist gringo empire" and the "fascist right" within his own country.

"They intend to govern Venezuela from Washington," Maduro declared. "Do you want a puppet government controlled by Washington?"

Critics of U.S. imperialism and its long history of anti-democratic manuevers in Latin American expressed immediate alarm on Wednesday after Trump's announcement. And what Trump identified as "democracy," critics of the move instead used Maduro's description: "coup."

 

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