The military rejects Guido's announcement of himself as President of Venezuela and Washington strongly supports him
Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrinho has announced that the military will not recognize the announcement of the opposition parliament speaker Juan Guadillo himself as president, while international reactions have continued between supporters and opponents of the move.
"The desperation and fanaticism undermines the peace of the nation. We, the soldiers of the homeland, do not accept the president of imposing under vague interests or self-declared illegally. The army defends our constitution and is a guarantor of national sovereignty," the defense minister wrote on Twitter.
On Wednesday, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guadillo declared himself the interim president of the country.
In a speech to thousands of demonstrators demanding the departure of President Nicolas Maduro, Guido lifted his right hand and symbolically swore the oath, confirming that the constitution guaranteed him until new elections were called.
|Juan Guadillo leader of the Venezuelan opposition Speaker of the Parliament declared himself interim president of the country (Anatolia)|
"I know that there will be repercussions for this, but to achieve this mission (to overthrow Maduro) and to draft the constitution we need, we need the agreement and support of all Venezuelans."
The Venezuelan Supreme Court, the country's highest judicial authority and composed of judges considered supporters of the regime, has ordered a criminal investigation against the deputies, accusing them of "confiscating" the powers of President Maduro.
In exchange for Guido's move, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the severing of diplomatic relations with the United States and accused it of plotting a coup against him.
"In front of the people, the nation and the world, I, as the constitutional president, declared the severance of diplomatic and political relations with the US imperialist government," Maduro told a crowd of his supporters gathered at the presidential palace.
"The imperialist government of the United States is leading the process of imposing a puppet government that serves the interests of Washington," he said. "But it is up to the people who choose their president."
Maduro confirms commitment to Venezuela (Getty Images)
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"They have a desire to rule Venezuela from Washington," the Socialist leader said, blaming such moves for "the extreme folly of (US President) Donald Trump against Venezuela."
Maduro gave the staff of the US diplomatic mission 72 hours to leave Venezuela.
But the State Department said Maduro had no authority to cut diplomatic ties between Caracas and Washington.
"The United States does not recognize the Maduro system as a government of Venezuela and therefore does not consider former President Nicolas Maduro to have the legal authority to sever relations with the United States or to declare our diplomats undesirable," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
The White House announced in a statement that it recognized Guaydou as president of Venezuela.
According to the statement, the Venezuelan National Assembly elected by the people headed by Juan Guaido announced that the installation of Nicholas Maduro two weeks ago as President of Venezuela for a second term is illegal, and that the presidency is vacant accordingly.
The United States warned that "all options" would be on the table if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro used force in a confrontation with opposition leaders.
A senior US administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, did not rule out a military intervention of some kind, but focused on what he said would be strong economic measures against Maduro.
Venezuelan opposition supporters rally for Guido and raise US flag (Reuters)
The Organization of American States (which includes 35 countries in North and South America) also announced its recognition of the interim president.
"Congratulations to the interim President of Venezuela, Guido, you are our recognition to move forward in the restoration of democracy," FAO President Luis Almagro said on Twitter.
For his part, a foreign ministry official said his country would follow the example of the United States, the Organization of American States, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Colombia in recognizing Juan Guadillo as interim president.
While France said it was consulting with its European partners before announcing its position on Venezuela's developments, European Commission President Donald Tusk expressed his hope that "all Europe will support democratic forces in Venezuela."
"Unlike Maduro, the Venezuelan parliament and Juan Guido have the democratic authority granted by the citizens of Venezuela," Tusk said.
He also called on the European Union to "listen to the voice of the Venezuelan people" and called for "free" elections.
"On January 23, the Venezuelan people demanded democracy and freely determine their fate, and their voice can not be ignored," said Federica Mugherini, EU foreign policy chief, on behalf of the 28 member states.
"The European Union calls for the immediate commencement of a political process leading to free and credible elections in accordance with the constitutional order."
"The civil rights, liberty and security of all members of the National Assembly (Venezuelan) - including its President, Juan Guadio - must be fully respected."
"The violence and excessive use of force by the security forces is totally unacceptable and certainly does not solve the crisis," she said.
|Supporters of President Maduro rally in rejection of attempts to isolate him (Anatolia)|
On the other hand, Cuba, Bolivia, Mexico, Turkey and Russia announced their stand with President Nicolas Maduro and expressed solidarity with him against moves to isolate him.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez announced their support for Maduro, and Kanel said in a tirade that he supported Maduro "amid imperialist efforts to discredit the Bolivarian revolution."
While the Cuban foreign minister wrote in his Twitter account that "the sovereign will of the Venezuelan people will prevail amid imperialist intervention."
For his part, Bolivian President Evo Morales expressed his solidarity with Venezuela "at these critical moments."
"From now on, South America will not become the backyard of the United States," he said.
In Mexico, the government spokesman said his country supports Nicolas Maduro as president of Venezuela, saying "we recognize the elected authorities in accordance with the Venezuelan constitution."
In the same context, the Turkish Anatolia Agency said Thursday morning that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his support for President Maduro.
The agency quoted Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for the Turkish president, that Erdogan called his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro, and said to him, "Stand up brother Maduro, we stand by your side," stressing Turkey's position, rejecting the attempted coup.
Earlier Wednesday, the head of the International Affairs Committee of the Council of the Russian Federation, Constantine Kosachov, said that "all US policies towards Venezuela - including President Donald Trump's recent statements - are blatant interference in its internal affairs."
Andrei Klimov, vice chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Russian parliament, said Russia recognized Maduro as president of Venezuela and there would be no change in its position.
|Venezuela witnesses clashes that left 13 dead in two days (Getty Images)|
At the field level, a human rights NGO said 13 people had been killed in two days of anti-government protests in Venezuela.
The Venezuelan Observatory for Social Disputes, which opposes President Maduro, said the dead, most of whom died with guns, had fallen in Caracas and other parts of the country.
Maduro was sworn in a few days ago after winning a new six-year term in a presidential election on May 20, 2018, but his main rivals rejected the election results, considering widespread irregularities.