Britain, France Back Protests Against Venezuela's Maduro


US President Donald Trump, in a statement issued to local and global media, said that in its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly invoked the country's constitution to declare Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the presidency therefore vacant.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim leader on Wednesday, winning the support of Washington and parts of Latin America.

The Trump administration quickly recognized Guaido, and a defiant Maduro announced he was breaking ties with the United States hours later, accusing the American leader of meddling in Venezuela's affairs.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to brief the United Nations Security Council on Saturday and urge members to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the oil-rich nation's legitimate head of state, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

The Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Cuba condemns and energetically rejects the attempt to impose a coup d'etat, a puppet government at the service of the United States, in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and expresses its unwavering solidarity with the government of Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros.

Washington recognised Juan Guaido as the country's interim president earlier this week, angering Mr Maduro who has retaliated by threatening to expel U.S. diplomats from the country. But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "We have no such information". He has put himself forward as the new acting president.

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

European Union foreign ministers today (28 May) agreed to "swiftly" adopt new sanctions against Venezuelan officials involved in Nicolas Maduro's re-election, which they said "lacked any credibility".

Germany, Switzerland and Portugal called for free elections, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told Guaido he supported the Venezuelan Parliament.

Venezuela's top military brass pledged their unwavering support to Maduro, delivering vows of loyalty Thursday before rows of green-uniformed officers on state television.

Guaido has said he needs the backing of three critical groups: The people, the global community and the military. U.S. President Donald Trump's administration said its relations would be with Guaido.

The infographic below-created by Statista-shows the global split of nations either supporting Maduro or backing Guaido.

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The US said it stood ready to use "all options" if Maduro tries to quash the opposition, in what was an implied threat of military force.

In September 2008, U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy left Venezuela amid accusations by then-leader Hugo Chávez of an American plot to remove him.

Russian Federation on Thursday accused Washington of stoking street protests and called Maduro the legitimate president.

The key people in this crisis are the security forces, like the police and army.

In a video addressing the military earlier this week, Guiado said the constitution requires them 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.

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