Published: Sat, January 26, 2019
Markets | By Erika Turner

US needs to stay out of Venezuela, says Tulsi Gabbard

US needs to stay out of Venezuela, says Tulsi Gabbard

The socialist leader ordered a review of Venezuela's relationship with the US hours after the Trump administration officially recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation's interim president. That followed President Donald Trump's decision to support the claim to power by opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel expressed "our support and solidarity to President Nicolas Maduro after the imperialist attempts to discredit and destabilize the Bolivarian Revolution".

"We maintain our position of neutrality and non-intervention toward the conflict in Venezuela", he added.

In an interview with Russian journal International Affairs published on Thursday, Sergei Ryabkov, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, said Moscow would stand with Venezuela to protect its sovereignty and the principle of non-interference in its domestic affairs.

The Trump administration said Mr Maduro's order is not legal because the USA no longer recognises him as Venezuela's legitimate leader.

Backed by Venezuela's military, Mr Maduro has refused to show any hint he is ready to cede power, setting up a potentially explosive struggle.

The U.S. State Department on Thursday ordered some U.S. government workers to leave Venezuela and said U.S. citizens should consider leaving the country, a day after Washington recognized an opposition politician as Venezuela's president.

"Get Out! Leave Venezuela".

Padrino read a statement on behalf of Venezuela's armed forces in which he expressed his loyalty to the leftist Maduro as head of state and said he "will never accept an imposed president".

Venezuela's diplomatic personnel will return as soon as Saturday, he said.

A letter from a USA embassy security officer requesting a police escort for a caravan of 10 vehicles was leaked earlier in the day and published on social media by a journalist for state-owned TV network Telesur.

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Tweeting from the Swiss ski resort of Davos, where he and other leaders were attending the World Economic Forum, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said: "Brazil recognises Mr Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president".

The group also called for the rule of law and maintenance of social peace while the transition takes place.

The Trump administration told US energy companies it could impose sanctions on Venezuelan oil as soon as this week if the political situation worsens, according to sources.

He initially said he was open to discussing Brazil hosting a U.S. military base, before changing his mind when the idea sparked objections from his military brass.

USA national security adviser John Bolton said the United States would cut the cash Mr Maduro receives and allocate it to Mr Guaido instead.

Major regional players Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Argentina all gave their backing to Guaido's self-proclamation as acting president.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier called on Maduro to step aside and urged the country's military to support efforts to restore democracy.

Both Guaido, who has not appeared in public since mass anti-government protests on Wednesday, and Maduro were scheduled to hold news conferences on Friday.

"The EU strongly calls for the start of an immediate political process leading to free and credible elections, in conformity with the constitutional order", the bloc's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

In a November speech in Miami, home to large numbers of immigrants from Cuba and Venezuela, Bolton pledged that the United States would crack down on what he called "the troika of tyranny" in the Western Hemisphere, naming Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

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