Venezuela cuts ties after U.S. backs Guaidó as president

Jan 24, 2019, 1:35 AM EST
Juan Guaidó swore himself in as Venezuela's interim president.
(Source: Fábio Cavalcanti Ferreira/flickr)

Cornered Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro gave U.S. diplomats a 72-hour deadline to leave the country as he announced severing ties with Washington after President Donald Trump recognized its opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president.

Venezuela, reeling with hyperinflation, power cuts and acute shortage of basic items under the “authoritarian” Maduro regime, slid into an unprecedented political chaos on Wednesday after Congress chief Guaidó declared himself as interim president, notes the BBC.

Guaidó enjoys the backing of seven South American nations, including Brazil, Colombia and Peru while the European Union calls for fresh elections. Guaidó may have succeeded in winning over international support but Maduro, with his proximity to the state army, remains a force at home, writes Reuters.

Maduro has remained defiant in the face of growing pressure from neighboring states and U.S. allies calling for public support in thwarting a “coup” attempt, which he says would only lead to a “puppet government.”