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MADURO AS ODERED US DIPLOMATS TO LEAVE VENEZUELAN IN 72 HOURS

Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro has broken off relations with the US after it recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president.

Mr Maduro gave US diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.

On Wednesday Mr Guaidó declared himself president during mass protests. The US said “former President Maduro” no longer had authority and urged the army to back Mr Guaidó instead.

So far, the army has remained loyal to Mr Maduro.

Venezuela has been in economic freefall under President Maduro. Hyperinflation, power cuts and shortages of basic items have driven millions of people from the country.

He accused Washington of trying to govern Venezuela from afar and said the opposition was seeking to stage a coup.

“We’ve had enough interventionism, here we have dignity, damn it!” he said in a televised address from the presidential palace, the Miraflores, where thousands had gathered to show their support for him.

Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino condemned Mr Guaidó’s call for the army to switch sides.

“The nation’s soldiers don’t accept a president imposed by obscure interests, nor one self-proclaimed outside of the law,” he tweeted.

Mr Maduro and his core supporters believe Venezuela’s problems are caused by US sanctions that have hampered the government by making it hard to restructure its debt.

 

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