Advertisement

Colombia’s president urges Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro to step aside

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks to a crowd of supporters as he is flanked by his wife, Cilia Flores, left, and Vice President Delcy Rodriguez on Jan. 23, 2019.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks to a crowd of supporters as he is flanked by his wife, Cilia Flores, left, and Vice President Delcy Rodriguez on Jan. 23, 2019.
(Luis Robayo / AFP/Getty Images)

Colombia’s president is urging Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to give up his post.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Colombian leader Ivan Duque said Wednesday that Maduro should “step aside and let the Venezuelan people be free.”

Duque spoke after a tumultuous day that saw Juan Guaido Marquez, the head of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress, declare himself interim president and call elections.

Colombia joined several other Latin American governments as well as the United States and Canada in quickly recognizing Guaido as Venezuela’s leader.

Advertisement

Duque was asked whether military intervention in Venezuela was a possibility. He responded: “We’re not talking about military intervention. We’re talking about a diplomatic consensus and also the support of the Venezuelan people.”

Maduro is giving American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country after breaking diplomatic relations with the U.S. over its decision to recognize an opposition leader as interim president.

“Before the people and nations of the world, and as constitutional president … I’ve decided to break diplomatic and political relations with the imperialist U.S. government,” Maduro told a crowd of red-shirted supporters gathered at the presidential palace.

He made the announcement after Guaido’s declaration.

Advertisement

Guaido’s move was immediately backed by the Trump administration, which said it was willing to use all its economic and diplomatic power to restore Venezuela’s democracy.

Maduro said in his speech the U.S. was making a “grave mistake” by trying to impose a president on Venezuela and rattled off a list of countries — Guatemala, Brazil, Chile and Argentina — that saw leftist governments toppled or come under military rule during the Cold War with U.S. support.


Advertisement