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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday said he’s cutting off relations with the U.S. and giving American diplomats 72 hours to exit the country.

The socialist leader ordered a review of Venezuela’s relationship with the U.S. hours after the Trump administration officially recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation’s interim president.

A day earlier, Vice President Mike Pence sent a recorded video to Venezuelans referring to Maduro as “a dictator with no legitimate claim to power.”

“He has never won the presidency in a free and fair election, and has maintained his grip on power by imprisoning anyone who dares to oppose him,” Pence said in the video.

Hours after the video was sent on Tuesday, Maduro spoke on state television, saying that Pence had brought about a 200-year low in relations between the two countries by authorizing a coup.

On Wednesday Trump recognized 35-year-old Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled congress, as the country’s interim president.

“The citizens of Venezuela have suffered for too long at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime,” Trump tweeted after Guaido spoke to his supporters. And tens of thousands of protesters hit the streets in widespread protest against Maduro.

The demonstrators, shouting phrases including “Get out, Maduro,” say they’re fed up with spiraling inflation, a shortage of basic goods and a migration crisis dividing families.

The protest is considered a crucial test for the reinvigorated opposition as it seeks to send a forceful message that Maduro no longer has the people’s backing and appeals to the military and the poor to shift loyalties that until recently looked solidly behind the president. The protests were called to coincide with a historic date for Venezuelans — the anniversary of the 1958 coup that overthrew military dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez.

Maduro, who started his second term as president on Jan. 11 after disputed elections, is facing increasing hostility from the international community. He has sought to shore up support from the armed forces by doling out key posts to top generals, including one as the head of the oil monopoly that is the source of virtually all of Venezuela’s export earnings.

He has also been acting as commander in chief, appearing last week at a military command meeting wearing camouflage fatigues and receiving the blessing of the defense minister, Gen. Vladimir Padrino Lopez.

Maduro has accused the opposition of inciting violence with the aim of provoking a bloodbath. Top socialist leaders have threatened to unleash menacing motorcycle gangs of pro-government die-hards known as “colectivos.”

“I demand the full rigor of the law against the fascists,” Maduro said Tuesday night, blaming “terrorists” allegedly linked to Guaido’s Popular Will party for a fire at a cultural center named for a pro-government lawmaker murdered in 2014.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Joel Johnston

    January 24, 2019 at 2:48 am

    I hope Maduro fails and is swept out of office by the will of the people of Venezuela. However, I wish the US would not meddle in their affairs. WE scream murder, while we investigate Russian meddling in our affairs. And while we meddles in Russia’s affairs. No room for double standards. Isn’t that the problem we have today – one set of standards for Congress, clinton, FBI, DOJ, and a different set for the people. STOP IT NOW

    • Henry van Dalen

      January 24, 2019 at 3:14 pm

      Totally agree!!! Well said.

    • John Isbell

      January 24, 2019 at 7:00 pm

      Sorry Joel, but after 2years of investigations there exist not one thread of evidence linking DT to colluding with the Russians to alter the outcome of our elections. It was a witch hunt from the beginning initiated by our own FBI. The proof is all there if you care to examine it. Don’t compare us with Venezuela. We have a Republican form of government, with Constitutionally guaranteed rights. Where else in the world do you see that?

  2. Robert Walters

    January 24, 2019 at 3:13 am

    God Bless the people of Venezuelan, you must unite become a party of one and take your country back.

  3. MAC

    January 24, 2019 at 3:23 am

    Like watching Democraps going down with the ship. Like the true dictators they are.

    • Shari Early

      January 24, 2019 at 3:54 am

      Yes

  4. pjt

    January 24, 2019 at 3:53 am

    Hey you dems/libs, look. This is what socialism looks like.

    • Billy Payne

      January 24, 2019 at 4:22 am

      Hey you repubs/cons, look. This is what a dictatorship looks like.

      • Michael

        January 24, 2019 at 6:37 am

        Yeah, and that’s exactly where we’ll be heading with the fucking idiots you morons on the left back. Ocasio-Cortez anyone? Bernie Sanders? The Clintons? Obama? Shut the fuck up jack-ass!

      • Leo

        January 24, 2019 at 12:22 pm

        Fuck off you pussy! Go cry to your mommy about how unfair life is that Hilary didn’t win. Wise the hell up, douche bag!

  5. LST

    January 24, 2019 at 4:52 am

    Exactly what the worthless demonrats want for our country.

  6. Smokey

    January 24, 2019 at 7:03 am

    If Maduro harms an American official, we will see the military acting in S. America very soon after.

  7. neo

    January 24, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    Oh ! boy ….does this mean that we NEVER have to send millions of our dollars to support his leadership?….a win-win for the American taxpayer.

  8. James Kelly

    January 24, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    ““I demand the full rigor of the law against the fascists,” Maduro said Tuesday night,”

    Careful what you wish for.

  9. Mark Terzano

    January 24, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    Venezuela “was once” a great country boasting in all kinds of beauty, nature, wealth and people. You could buy gasoline for 13 cents a dollar, eat at the best restaurants quite economically, being in a safe place with great weather. Literally a nation that could pave roads in gold. Today all this is gone thanks to socialism. It will take Venezuela 30 years to get things back in order.

  10. Rick

    January 24, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    socialism doesn’t work….

  11. Rick

    January 24, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    Mr Guaidó is in DEEP trouble…RIP….

    • FAST EDDIE

      January 24, 2019 at 8:41 pm

      Rest In Shit

  12. John Castro

    January 24, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Definition of Socialism: You have it….I don’t, so….Give it to me.

  13. Polly

    January 24, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Pray for the opposition.

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