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U.S. to Defy Venezuelan Order for American Diplomats to Leave Caracas in 72 Hours

January 23, 2019

President Nicolás Maduro on Wednesday faced the gravest challenge to his authority since assuming power in 2013, as the leader of the U.S.-backed opposition claimed the legitimate mantle of leadership and President Trump and other world leaders promptly recognized him as Venezuela’s interim and rightful head of state. […]

In a statement, Trump called on other governments to follow the United States’ move.

“The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law,” Trump wrote. “I will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy.”

Shortly afterward, 11 countries in the Lima Group, which was created in 2017 to deal with the Venezuela issue, signed a resolution backing Guaidó as president, and the European Council and Parliament both backed the National Assembly but fell short of recognizing Guaidó as interim president. Mexico, Russia and Cuba, however, reiterated their recognition of Maduro.

“This changes the game in ­Venezuela,” said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society. “It’s an inflection point that turns the Maduro regime into an international pariah and gives an immediate boost to Guaidó’s claims under the Venezuelan constitution. But it is not without risk, either by Guaidó or the Trump administration. Maduro will never accede to this course or willingly give up power, and Guaidó’s actions will not give Maduro the option to ignore him.” […]

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