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Maduro orders complete review of Venezuela’s diplomatic ties with US

Venezuelan Parliament President Juan Gauido (C) arrives for a session of the National Assembly at the Federal Legislative Palace, in Caracas, Venezuela, 22 January 2019. EFE-EPA/ Cristian Hernandez

Venezuelan Parliament President Juan Gauido (C) arrives for a session of the National Assembly at the Federal Legislative Palace, in Caracas, Venezuela, 22 January 2019. EFE-EPA/ Cristian Hernandez

EFE

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday that he had ordered a “full, absolute review of relations with the government of the United States” and warned that in the coming hours decisions will be made of a “political and diplomatic character.”

In radio and television remarks that all Venezuelan stations were obligated to broadcast, the head of state said that he had ordered Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza to head up the review.

Maduro’s warning comes a few hours after US Vice President Mike Pence released a video in which he called him a dictator and expressed his support for Venezuelans a day before the anti-government march convened by the Venezuelan Parliament, which has an opposition majority.

According to Maduro, “Never before has an official at the highest level come out in the name of his government ... saying that in Venezuela the opposition must topple the government.”

“We have already denounced it and we’re going to confront it,” he said after saying that Washington “wants violence” in Venezuela.

Also on Tuesday, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said that Pence’s statements are an “open” call for a coup d’etat in the South American country, adding that the Maduro government “is not going to permit” Washington to inject itself into its affairs.

Rodriguez made her remarks minutes before her brother, Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez, said that Pence had ordered violent acts in Venezuela, adding that the US VP had ordered the creation of “false positives” during the march scheduled for Wednesday.

In the video, Pence addressed himself to the Venezuelan people, saying: “On behalf of President Donald Trump and all the American people, let me express the unwavering support of the United States as you, the people of Venezuela, raise your voices in a call for freedom.”

“Nicolas Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power. He has never won the presidency in a free and fair election, and has maintained his grip on power by imprisoning anyone who dares to oppose him,” said Pence.

The Venezuelan opposition called for Jan. 23 a multi-pronged march to reject Maduro’s second six-year term that will kick off from different points around Caracas, among which is the Cotiza neighborhood where on Monday Venezuelan national guard troops staged an abortive uprising against the government.

Maduro also convened demonstrations at different points around the capital, one of which will take place on Nueva Granada Avenue in western Caracas, where the opposition is also slated to gather.

Regarding the pro-government demonstration, Maduro called for the “maximum awareness and maximum mobilization to defend the homeland,” at the same time that he said that “all security measures” will be taken.


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