Venezuelan leader Juan Guaido claims presidency, recognised by US

Venezuelan Military Stands by Maduro

EU backs self-proclaimed president Guaido, says voice of Venezuelan people 'cannot be ignored'

After Trump announced US support for Guaido, Maduro ordered all Americans to leave the country within 72 hours.

The U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States, Carlos Trujillo, said he could not offer details on any steps being taken to ensure the safety of U.S. diplomats, including whether dependents would be evacuated.

The Trump administration said Maduro's order isn't legal because the U.S.no longer recognizes him as Venezuela's legitimate leader.

"We consider the attempt to usurp sovereign authority in Venezuela to contradict and violate the basis and principles of worldwide law", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.

"Don't trust the gringos", he said, adding they only have "the ambition to take Venezuela's oil, gas and gold".

But Guaidó, in a letter posted on Twitter the same day, asked foreign diplomatic personnel to remain in Venezuela.

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Britain has joined the USA and Canada in throwing its weight behind moves to oust Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to condemn his hard-left ally Maduro and instead tore into interference in the country.

Guaido has said he would be willing to replace Maduro with the support of the military and to call free elections.

However, he still has no control over the Venezuelan state and the military, which appears to still be loyal to Maduro despite a deep economic and political crisis.

"Almost certainly the administration is going to have to find a way to get most of our people out of there, and leave behind some kind of symbolic presence to show that we did not leave", the former official said. He made a point of referring to Maduro's presidency in the past tense.

In a statement read out to the press by Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, the military top brass called the leftist leader the "legitimate president" and Guaido's move a "coup".

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In a video earlier this week, Guaido said the constitution requires the military to disavow Maduro after his May 2018 re-election, which was widely condemned by the worldwide community because his main opponents were banned from running.

The biggest group in the European Parliament, the center-right European People's Party, said it recognized Guaido as interim president and would call on the whole Parliament to do so next week as a senior lawmaker urged Maduro to quit.

Maduro responded by saying he was cutting off diplomatic ties with Washington, as his riot police clashed with opposition supporters in Caracas.

Maduro's key ally Russian Federation denounced Guaido's bid as a "usurpation" of power and warned that "this is a direct path to lawlessness and bloodshed".

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also told the country's International Affairs magazine that USA military intervention in Venezuela "would be a catastrophic scenario that would shake the foundations of the development model we see in the Latin American region". "US has been trying to create chaos and violence putting inhuman economic sanctions and threatening military intervention in Venezuela since last decade", read the statement, further stating that it is a "serious challenge to the UN Charter and Principle of peaceful co-existence".

But there were no signs that security forces were widely heeding Guaido's call to go easy on demonstrators.

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