Maduro Folds Under Siege, Allows US Diplomats To Stay

Sunday, January 27, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Sun, 01/27/2019

In what appears a move meant to slow or calm the ratcheting external pressures on the Nicolas Maduro government after over a dozen countries led by the United States have declared his second term “illegitimate” and after White House officials said “all options are on the table” for dealing with the crisis, the embattled president has walked back his earlier demand for American diplomats to exit the country within 72 hours.

The break in diplomatic ties came Wednesday, but Maduro has now revised the demand to give time for negotiations in what he said in a televised statement was an act of “true diplomacy”. Instead now he’s offering that the White House has 30 days to negotiate for the establishment of a “US interests office” in Caracas and a mirror institution for the Venezuelans in Washington.

This could slow the pace of fast-moving escalation that had US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday calling on the world to “pick a side” in the crisis while urging all nations to end Venezuela’s “nightmare” and support “Interim President” Juan Guaido.

“Now is the time for every other national to pick a side,” Pompeo told the UN Security Council meeting to discuss Venezuela in New York. “No more delays, no more games. Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”

And addressing the impending expelling of US diplomats, he said: “Let me be 100 percent clear — President Trump and I fully expect that our diplomats will continue to receive protections provided under the Vienna Convention. Do not test the United States on our resolve to protect our people.” Pompeo also noted, following President Trump’s prior controversial declaration that the US only recognizes National Assembly head Guaido as the legitimate president, that Maduro doesn’t have the “legal authority to break diplomatic relations.”

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