The United States has rejected Nicolas Maduro‘s decision to sever diplomatic ties with Washington, saying he has no authority to cut ties and that the United States will maintain diplomatic relations through a government led by the opposition leader Juan Guaido.
“The United States maintains diplomatic relations with Venezuela and will conduct our relations with Venezuela through the government of interim President Guaido, who invited our mission to remain in Venezuela,“ said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a statement.
“The United States does not recognize the Maduro regime as the Venezuelan government. Thus, the United States does not consider that former President Nicolas Maduro has the legal authority to break diplomatic relations.“
Guaidó has declared himself interim president of Venezuela on Wednesday, gaining support from Washington and several Latin American countries and causing Maduro, who has led the nation rich in oil since 2013, to break ties with the United States, giving to US diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.
Meanwhile, Pompeo suggested that US diplomats plan to stay where they are and urged Venezuela’s military and security forces “to continue to protect … all Venezuelan citizens, as well as US citizens and other foreigners in Venezuela.“
“We urge all parties to refrain from measures that are inconsistent with the privileges and immunities enjoyed by members of the diplomatic community,“ he said.
“The United States will take appropriate action to hold anyone accountable who puts at risk the safety of our mission and its personnel,“ he added.
The US position is a clear warning to Maduro and to the forces loyal to his government, against any attitude that might threaten US diplomats or citizens present in Venezuela.
The ball is in the field of Maduro. If he takes any hostile action against diplomats within the established 72-hour deadline, the United States may retaliate militarily, creating an armed conflict in South America.
Perhaps, Maduro is counting on unlikely support from Putin, with whom he met a few days ago. Brazil, through the Vice President, Mourao, has already stated that he will not participate in intervention in Venezuela, led by the United States.