Venezuela expels German ambassador

BREAKING: Venezuela expels German ambassador for backing Guaido

German Ambassador expelled from Venezuela after supporting 'interim President' Juan Guaido

German ambassador to Venezuela Daniel Martin Kriener delivers a news conference next to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim ruler, and accredited diplomatic representatives of the European Union in Caracas, Venezuela February 19, 2019.

The government of acting President Nicolas Maduro said he had 48 hours to leave Venezuela.

Kriener had helped to try to bring humanitarian aid to the country, Guaido said in a speech to opposition lawmakers, adding: "It seems that the Maduro regime does not forgive anyone who wants to help Venezuela".

The United States will also revoke the visas of 77 people associated with Maduro, Vice President Mike Pence said, adding to a list of 49 others whose visas were revoked last Friday.

BREAKING: Venezuela expels German ambassador for backing Guaido

Waiting for Guaido at the country's main airport, Kriener spoke to media and said he hoped the leader of the National Assembly would have a safe return.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has not made a decision on recognizing a new government in Venezuela, the organisation's spokesperson said on Thursday.

Dozens of counties, including the USA and Canada, have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate leader. Weddle said officials told him he was being deported, but it was unclear exactly when he would return.

Since the start of the year, Venezuela has been shaken by political unrest sometimes erupting in violence after USA -backed opposition leader Juan Guaido announced he was invoking the constitution as head of congress to wrest power from President Nicolas Maduro.

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Foro Penal, a lawyer co-op that handles politically sensitive cases, said Weddle was held at a prison in Caracas alongside some of Maduro's fiercest opponents as well as five other American citizens - all of them dual nationals - who worked at Houston-based Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuela's state-run oil monopoly. "He could have Juan Guaido arrested as soon as he arrived...but that would probably inch us closer here to some type of military confrontation".

Neither Venezuela's information ministry nor the U.S. State Department immediately responded to requests for comment. The guard said the security forces wore jackets indicating that they were from the military intelligence service.

"The United States is putting foreign financial institutions on notice that they will face sanctions for being involved in facilitating illegitimate transactions that benefit Nicolas Maduro and his corrupt network", Bolton said in a statement.

USA envoy Abrams said that given Maduro's low popularity, it would be "a gift" if he chose to run in fresh polls.

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Guaido, 35, returned home to a hero's welcome on Monday, having defied a ban on leaving the country to embark on a 10-day tour of South American allies.

He has vowed to set up a transitional government and hold new elections.

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