Jan 24, 2019 09:16 Asia/Tehran [Updated: May 20, 2019 21:09 Asia/Tehran]

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro said that he was severing diplomatic and political ties with the United States.

Iran Press/America: The move came shortly after recognition of the head of Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly, Juan Guaido by US as the country's interim president.

According to Iran Press, Nicolas Maduro said in a speech to supporters gathered outside the presidential headquarters in Caracas that he would give the entire diplomatic and consular personnel of the United States of America in Venezuela, 72 hours to leave the country.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan opposition leader on January 11 branded Maduro, 56, as an illegitimate 'usurper,' saying he was prepared to take on the South American country’s presidency on an interim basis and call elections, only a day after socialist Maduro was sworn in for a second term.

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Crisis in Venezuela

Guaido has declared himself interim president of the country and was immediately recognized by the United States, which is accused by Caracas of plotting to topple President Maduro.

Addressing anti-government protesters in the capital Caracas on Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019, Guaido took an oath, swearing himself in as interim president.

"I swear to assume all the powers of the presidency to secure an end of the usurpation," he said.

Rival demonstrations were staged in Venezuela for and against President Maduro on Wednesday.

Maduro has accused the US of being behind Venezuela’s economic crisis, saying Washington is orchestrating attempts to topple him as part of a wider offensive against Latin American leaders defying the US hegemony.

In 2017, Trump said he would not "rule out" a military option for Venezuela to solve the ongoing crisis in the country.

Washington also intensified unilateral sanctions on the socialist country, announcing bans on Maduro’s wife and several of his top allies to further increase pressure on the government in early September.

Multiple sources were quoted as saying that the Trump administration could impose new sanctions on Venezuela's vital oil sector as soon as this week to mount more pressure on Maduro.105/210


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