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Costa Rica recognizes Juan Guaidó as President of Venezuela; Maduro severs ties with US, expels diplomats

January 23, 2019

Costa Rica recognized Juan Guaidó as the president of Venezuela.

Guaidó, the head of Venezuela’s national assembly, declared himself acting president of Venezuela on Wednesday during a mass opposition rally against Nicolas Maduro.

“I swear to assume the national executive powers as acting president of Venezuela to end the usurpation, [install] a transitional government and hold free elections,” Guaidó said to thousands of cheering supporters.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the street today in Caracas to oppose President Nicolas Maduro, the AFP reported. The protest came after four people died during overnight clashes between Maduro supporters and opponents.

A masked opposition demonstrator holds razor wire during clashes with the security forces in a protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, on the anniversary of the 1958 uprising that overthrew the military dictatorship, in Caracas on January 23, 2019. (Federico Parra / AFP)

Venezuela’s Supreme Court quickly launched a criminal probe into the National Assembly, but countries across the Americas recognized Juan Guaidó as the interim president. Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and the United States all backed Guaidó earlier in the afternoon and then President Carlos Alvarado announced his support for Guaidó on Twitter:

Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry released a statement saying “Costa Rica expresses its support for the interim government, which has a mandate to restore constitutional order and attend to its obligations in the framework of international law and, in particular, the human rights of all Venezuelans.

The Foreign Ministry also noted that as a nation of peace, Costa Rica reiterates that the solution to the crisis should come through dialogue and peaceful means.

The AFP has reported that riot police have already clashed with anti-Maduro protesters. Maduro has also severed diplomatic ties with the United States and has given U.S. diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.

“I’ve decided to break diplomatic and political relations with the imperialist government of the United States,” said Maduro to thousands of supporters in Caracas.

“Get out! Leave Venezuela, here there’s dignity, damn it.”


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