With Venezuela Convulsed by Crisis, Trump's Hawks Take Dramatic Turn

Guaido greets supporters after taking an oath to be Venezuela's interim president

Some US diplomats in Venezuela have headed for Caracas airport amid a political power struggle between President Nicolas Maduro and an opposition leader who has declared himself interim leader.

A veteran of Iraq war, she has been opposed to American interventionist policy overseas and is against deployment of United States troops in other countries.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday directed his country's diplomats in the United States to leave that country and ordered the embassy and consulates there closed, also reiterating that United States diplomatic personnel must leave the South American nation within 72 hours.

Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna too slammed Trump for his new policy on Venezuela.

"From a constitutional, humanitarian, and democratic perspective - and according to worldwide law - there was no option left for the United States and the global community but to recognize Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela", Moises Rendon, associate director and associate fellow of the CSIS Americas Program, told VOA.

Maduro has presided over Venezuela's spiral into its worst-ever economic crisis.

"We are taking this action based on our current assessment of the security situation in Venezuela".

China's Foreign Ministry called on the USA to stay out of the crisis, while Russia's deputy foreign minister warned the United States against any military intervention in Venezuela.

That was the conclusion drawn from USA contacts with Guaido in the days ahead of his declaration, including two phone calls with Pence, officials said, asking to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the situation.

"To get out of Venezuela", said Maduro, who also ordered the closure of the Venezuelan embassy and all of his country's consulates in the US.

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Padrino read a statement on behalf of Venezuela's armed forces in which he expressed his loyalty to the leftist Maduro as head of state and said he "will never accept an imposed president".

Guaido's bold move capped three days of high tension that began Monday when a group of soldiers took over a command post in the capital Caracas and rose up against Maduro.

A letter from a U.S. embassy security officer requesting a police escort for a caravan of 10 vehicles was leaked earlier in the day and published on social media by a journalist for state-owned TV network Telesur.

"We disavow any unconstitutional attempt to usurp" the presidency, said Moreno.

Maduro, in a fiery speech on Wednesday, said he was cutting off diplomatic relations with the United States for instigating a "coup" against him.

Mr Guaido, 35, has energised the Opposition with a campaign to declare Mr Maduro a usurper after elections a year ago widely regarded as fraudulent, and has promised a transition to a new government in a nation suffering a hyperinflationary economic collapse.

Venezuela, an oil-rich country that has been hammered by lower global oil prices and economic sanctions imposed by the USA, has been in recession for almost all of Maduro's time in office. Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, he said he'd be outraged to apprehend "innocent people".

Mr Maduro started a second term on January 10 following a widely boycotted election previous year that many foreign governments described as a sham.

Russian Federation has extensive economic interests in Venezuela and invested billions of dollars in its energy sector.

"We support the efforts made by the Venezuelan government to maintain the country's sovereignty, independence, and stability", she added.

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