Some US diplomats leaving Venezuela amid political crisis

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House Wednesday

"SYRIZA expresses its full support and solidarity with the legitimate president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, after yesterday's move by opposition leader and president of the National Assembly of the country Juan Guaido, to declare himself the interim president of the country, thus challenging the result of last May's presidential election", said Panos Skourletis, secretary of the ruling SYRIZA party's Central Committee.

The avalanche of support for Guaido dramatically raised the stakes in Venezuela, an oil-rich nation that has become deeply impoverished under Maduro.

To leave Venezuela, he sneaked across the lawless border with Colombia, so as not to raise suspicions among immigration officials who sometimes harass opposition figures at the airport and bar them from traveling overseas, said a different anti-government leader, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss security arrangements.

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

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said that the armed forces do not recognize Guaido as interim president.

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

A half-dozen generals belonging largely to district commands and with direct control over thousands of troops joined Maduro in accusing the United States of meddling in Venezuela's affairs and said they would uphold the socialist leader's rule. "There is no doubt the Maduro's economic policies have been bad, and he has engaged in financial mismanagement and also political authoritarianism", he said.

"If they come to an agreement and really want dialogue, to find a peaceful solution, our country as it has done in the past on issues of foreign policy would again serve as a mediator", he added during his daily press conference.

From then on, countries in the region realized they had a partner in the US willing to tackle a crisis that had been years in the making but which previous USA administrations had chosen to play down because of limited national security implications, said Fernando Cutz, a former senior national security adviser on Latin America to both President Barack Obama and Trump.

"Venezuela is friendly to us and is our strategic partner".

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Life in the capital appeared to be returning to normal Thursday after mass anti-government demonstrations a day earlier that left at least a dozen dead in the escalating conflict with Maduro, who has been increasingly accused of undemocratic behaviour by the United States and many other nations in the region.

"I just received a phone call from [Spain's Prime Minister] Pedro Sanchez and was able to describe the struggle we are leading together with all of Venezuela, to achieve a transition government and hold free elections", Guaido wrote via Twitter.

Guaido, who has galvanized the country's opposition, proclaimed himself interim president on Wednesday.

Washington has refused to comply with Maduro's order but has ordered its nonessential staff to leave the tumultuous country, citing security concerns. He said another three people were injured.

Maduro, in a fiery speech on Wednesday, said he was cutting off diplomatic relations with the United States for instigating a "coup" against him. So far, they have stood by Mr Maduro through two waves of street protests and a steady dismantling of democratic institutions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, too, denounced U.S. policy on Venezuela as "destructive" while Russia is also backing Maduro.

A virtually unknown lawmaker at the start of the year, Guaido has reignited opposition hopes by taking a rebellious tack amid Venezuela's crushing economic crisis.

For some, especially Mexico, which was renegotiating NAFTA, adopting a more aggressive stance was also an opportunity to gain leverage in bilateral relations with the Trump administration.

Guaido's father, who has lived in Spain for the last 16 years, has called on the military to drop its allegiance to Maduro.

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