Maduro orders Venezuelan diplomats out of US

Maduro orders Venezuelan diplomats out of US
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Nicolás Maduro ordered all Venezuelan diplomats to leave the United States on Thursday, The Associated Press reports.

Maduro cut off diplomatic ties with the U.S. on Wednesday after the U.S. recognized Venezuela's National Assembly leader, Juan Guaidó, as interim president. The U.S. has deemed Maduro's presidency illegitimate.

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In response, Maduro ordered American diplomats in Venezuela to leave within 72 hours, but they have not yet done so. According to the AP, the U.S. has said Maduro does not have the authority to expel U.S. diplomats.

Guaidó has invited the U.S. mission to remain in Venezuela, according to the State Department.

Maduro was sworn in for a second six-year term earlier this month in an election that many international organizations have also declared illegitimate.

The Trump administration has steadily increased its sanctions on individuals and entities linked to the Maduro government, including widespread sanctions on gold trade, a major source of foreign currency for Venezuela.

Canada, the Organization of American States, and Latin American countries including Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia all followed the U.S. in recognizing Guaidó as the interim president.

The U.S. and Venezuela have not exchanged ambassadors in nearly a decade, but do maintain diplomatic staff in each other's countries.

-Updated 6:07 p.m.