Venezuela’s Maduro cuts off diplomatic relations with US

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said Wednesday that Venezuela is cutting off all diplomatic relations with the United States and ordered American diplomats in the country to leave within 72 hours, according to media reports.

“Before the people and nations of the world, and as constitutional president … I’ve decided to break diplomatic and political relations with the imperialist U.S. government,” Maduro said while speaking with supporters Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

{mosads}The move comes after the Trump administration earlier Wednesday recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s interim president.

Maduro said Wednesday that the U.S. was making a “grave mistake” by recognizing Guaidó as the interim president, the AP reported.

Maduro was sworn in this month to another term as president, but his election is widely viewed by the United States and others as illegitimate. 

Thousands of people in Venezuela staged protests on Wednesday against Maduro. 

Trump said in a statement Wednesday announcing U.S. support for Guaidó that the “people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law.”

While speaking with reporters Wednesday, Trump provided an unclear response when asked if the U.S. was considering military options in Venezuela.

“We are not considering anything, but all options are on the table,” he said.

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