US orders non-emergency govt employees to leave Venezuela

Washington: The United States has ordered all of its non-emergency government employees to leave Venezuela, following Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s decision to sever diplomatic ties with the nation.

The US had earlier dismissed Maduro’s decision, citing that he did not have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations, after National Assembly President Juan Guaido, who enjoys US support, swore himself in as the President on Wednesday.

“US will conduct diplomatic relations with #Venezuela through the government of interim President Guaido. The US does not recognize the #Maduro regime. The US does not consider former president Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations,” Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had earlier tweeted on Wednesday, brushing off Maduro’s decision to break diplomatic ties.

Meanwhile, Maduro, going ahead with his decision, has directed the Venezuelan embassy and consulates in the USA to shut down, announcing that all of its diplomats would reach Venezuela by Saturday, reports Anadolu Agency.

The latest developments come amid a major political crisis in the South American nation, with opposition leader Guaido swearing himself in as the President in the middle of protests demanding Maduro’s resignation. Subsequently, the United States recognised Guaido as the interim President, inviting the retaliatory measure by the elected President Maduro.

On the one hand, countries like the US and UK have extended their support to Guaido as the interim President. While on the other, Russia, China and Turkey have extended their support to the beleaguered President Maduro, slamming the US for its interference in the South American nation.

The United States has further requested for a United Nations Security Council meeting to be held on Saturday, January 26, to discuss the “ongoing crisis” in Venezuela.