Venezuelan Military Attache to Washington Announces Break with Maduro

Turkey’s Erdogan ‘Maduro Brother Stand Tall’ in Venezuela		FEDERICO PARRA Amilcar Orfali  Getty Images24 Jan 2019

Turkey’s Erdogan ‘Maduro Brother Stand Tall’ in Venezuela FEDERICO PARRA Amilcar Orfali Getty Images24 Jan 2019

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro rejected an worldwide ultimatum to call elections within eight days and said opposition leader Juan Guaido violated the constitution by declaring himself interim leader.

But the Colombian Defense Ministry reported that the Colombian government is not going to provide the United States will military bases so that the latter could launch a possible military invasion in Venezuela.

Venezuela's last-minute Saturday night decision to pull the expulsion order may have avoided a potential showdown with the US.

It follows similar declarations by the US, Britain, Germany and France.

The State Department did not confirm the Venezuelan government's account, reiterating only that its priority remains the safety of its personnel and that it has no plans to close the embassy.

On Saturday, Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State told the United Nations that countries must "pick a side" on Venezuela, urging them to also recognise Mr Guaido.

Guaido said Sunday on Twitter that he wants to bring worldwide attention to members of the armed forces, prosecutors and judges linked to recent deaths, which he calls a "massacre".

After four years of economic pain that has left Venezuelans short of food and medicine and driven more than two million to flee, Guaido is trying to oust Maduro following controversial elections that saw the socialist leader sworn in for a second term.

During the debate, which was requested by the U.S., Pompeo urged all nations to end Venezuela's "nightmare" and to support Guaido.

"Now is the time for every other national to pick a side", Pompeo said. No more delays, no more games. "The intention of the United States is to orchestrate a coup d'etat", said Russia's UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia. "They are attacking us and they think Venezuela is their back garden", Maduro told the interviewer.

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Nebenzia urged Pompeo to say whether the US will use military force.

"I am not going to speculate or hypothesize on what the USA will do next", Pompeo later told reporters who asked for a response. Former Reagan administration Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams is on the case is our new special enjoy for Venezuela.

On his first day on the job, Abrams met with exiled leaders of Venezuela's opposition.

The Top United Nations political official told the Security Council on Saturday that dialogue and cooperation were vital to ending the crisis in Venezuela.

"Venezuela does not pose any threat to peace and security".

From an global standpoint, the time for dialogue seems to have passed, judging from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's address to the UN Security Council on Saturday, during which he urged members to back Mr Guaido's transitional government.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza dismissed the deadline.

"Europe is giving us eight days?" Guaido, the National Assembly speaker, has proclaimed himself interim president.

On January 23, the democratically elected National Assembly, which is controlled by the opposition, declared Maduro's rule illegitimate.

While small rebellions against Maduro have broken out in Venezuela's armed forces in recent months, there has been no large-scale military uprising against him. This would include "the issue of recognition of the country's leadership".

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said Australia would support Mr Guaido until elections were called. "It's that simple, especially, when it comes to Venezuela", he added. The uprising was quelled and 25 guardsmen arrested. The Wall Street Journal has more here (and here via Outline).

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