USA orders non-emergency embassy staff to leave Venezuela

Juan Guaido

Juan Guaido

Tensions have soared between the two nations after Trump recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido, who claimed Wednesday to hold the presidency and vowed to remove Maduro, calling him a "dictator".

Marcelo Perez Del Carpio/Getty ImagesVenezuelans gather for a mass rally against Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela on January 23, 2019.

Senior administration officials, including Pence, Bolton and White House Latin America adviser Mauricio Claver-Carone, made a flurry of calls to Latin American leaders ahead of Guaido's announcement to ensure that many of them would join Trump in recognizing Guaido.

Guaido's father, who has lived in Spain for the last 16 years, has called on the military to drop its allegiance to Maduro.

Also on Thursday, Venezuela's Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) ratified Maduro's legitimate right to govern.

Guaido, who has galvanized the country's opposition, proclaimed himself interim president on Wednesday.

In that light, "Maduro's fall does not appear imminent", the analysts wrote.

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Bolton has also worked with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to form a united front within the administration, needed to overcome resistance from career State Department diplomats.

"The time for debate is done".

"Diplomats depend on host governments for their safety.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Venezuela", the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela said in a security alert.

Venezuelans were able to choose which president to tune into on Friday.

The troubled South American nation has plunged into a new chapter of political turmoil this week after tens of thousands of Venezuelans frustrated with their nation's crippling economic and humanitarian crisis took to the streets demanding Maduro step down in a rally of support for Guaido as he took a symbolic oath to become the interim president.

Experts say the Venezuelan opposition, which lacks popular support, is resorting to Washington to oust Maduro.

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But both Russian Federation and China and have thrown their weight behind the embattled Maduro.

Backed by Venezuela's military, Maduro has refused to show any hint he's ready to cede power, setting up a potentially explosive struggle, though he said Friday that he remains open to talking with the opposition.

Meanwhile, Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Turkey have voiced their backing for Maduro's government.

The Venezuelan crisis could be resolved only through a peaceful political process within the framework of the constitution, the spokesman noted.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Thursday the situation in Venezuela could descend into "disaster" if the country's main political rivals fail to reach an agreement. Inflation is forecast to hit 10 million percent this year.

That uprising was quickly quashed and officials said 27 people were arrested but it set off a wave of smaller protests that were met by security forces using tear gas and rubber bullets.

"We consider the attempted usurpation of power in Venezuela as. a breach of the foundations of global law", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a conference call. Dozens of protesters have been killed in the unrest.

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Colombian President Ivan Duque, another U.S. ally also at Davos, told reporters his country was behind Guaido and will "accompany this process of transition to democracy so that the Venezuelan people free themselves of their dictatorship".

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