US, UK say Venezuela's Maduro 'illegitimate', Russian Federation and Turkey express support

Major regional players Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Peru all gave their backing to Juan Guaido's self-proclamation as Venezuela's acting president, which he made in front of crowd of tens of thousands of supporters in Caracas.

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Juan Guaido has said he needs the backing of three key groups: The people, the worldwide community and the military.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro looks on during a memorial tribute for former President of Cuba Fidel Castro at the Antonio Maceo Revoloution Square before his burial.

Guaido, who became the youngest person ever to preside over the legislature on 5 January, has never been a great public speaker.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to condemn his hard-left ally Maduro and instead tore into interference in the country. Donald Trump has tweeted saying he supports the new President. Some U.S. diplomats began exiting Venezuela on Friday.

"In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly invoked the country's constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the president therefore vacant".

Pompeo demanded that the military, whose leadership has confirmed its loyalty to Maduro, protect Guaido, a day after deadly street clashes. "I will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy".

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The report comes after the USA threw its support behind opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who declared himself president on Wednesday.

Bolton has also worked with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to form a united front within the administration, needed to overcome resistance from career State Department diplomats.

Speaking from an undisclosed location, Guaido told Univision he would consider granting amnesty to Maduro and his allies if they helped return Venezuela to democracy.

"This is as dramatic a situation as any that I can think of", said Max Cameron, a professor of political science with a focus on Latin American affairs at the University of British Columbia. "Color revolution" is a Russian term for the popular uprisings that unseated leaders in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

It was no small diplomatic feat, given the mistrust of the U.S.in Latin America due to the painful memories stemming from US military interventions in the region during the Cold War.

Canada, the United States and many Latin American countries quickly announced support for Guaido.

However, Guaido still lacks the "recognition by senior elements of the military" necessary to remove the president and hence "Maduro's fall does not appear imminent". They don't have friends or loyalties.

Asked for Mr Corbyn's current view on the Venezuelan government yesterday, a Labour spokesman said: 'We oppose outside interference in Venezuela, whether from the United States or anywhere else: the future of Venezuela is a matter for Venezuelans.

Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the information committee at Russia's Federation Council, called Guaido's declaration "an attempted coup" orchestrated by Washington - a claim echoed by Maduro in a televised broadcast in which he said, "We've had enough interventionism here".

  • David Armstrong