The Latest: US issues new warning to Maduro in Venezuela
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local):
President Donald Trump’s national security adviser is sending a new warning to the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
John Bolson sent a tweet Sunday warning there would be “a significant response” to “any violence and intimidation against U.S. diplomatic personnel, Venezuela’s democratic leader, Juan Guiado, or the National Assembly itself.”
The U.S. last week announced it considers Guaido the legitimate leader of Venezuela on the grounds that the socialist Maduro’s May re-election was fraudulent and the congress led by Guaido is the only legitimately elected national body in the country — assertions Maduro fiercely disputes.
The U.S. refused to accept Maduro’s order to close its Caracas embassy, though Maduro’s government on Saturday said it would ease the deadline for the diplomats to leave.
Pope Francis is calling for a “just and peaceful solution” to Venezuela’s political crisis that respects human rights and works for the good of all people.
Francis said Sunday from nearby Panama that he was feeling particularly close to Venezuelans in these days of crisis.
The Vatican hasn’t said if it would back opposition leader Juan Guaido in his claim for the presidency, which has been backed by the United States and other regional leaders.
Several years ago, the Vatican was frustrated in its attempt to mediate between socialist President Nicolas Maduro and Venezuela’s opposition, which has the backing of many Venezuelan bishops.
In his comments Sunday in Panama, Francis “asked the Lord to seek and find a just and peaceful solution to overcome the crisis, that respects human rights and exclusively seeks the good of all people.”
Israel has recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement Sunday saying Israel was joining “the United States, Canada, most of the countries of Latin America and countries in Europe in recognizing the new leadership in Venezuela.”
Venezuela severed diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009.
Last week Guaido declared himself interim leader on grounds that Maduro’s re-election last year was fraudulent.
Venezuela has defused a potential showdown with the United States by suspending a demand that U.S. diplomats leave the country even as Washington called on the world to “pick a side” in the South American nation’s fast-moving crisis.
Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry says it has extended a deadline for U.S. diplomats to leave following it’s rupture in relations. It says it will provide a 30-day window for negotiating with U.S. officials about setting up a “U.S. interests office” in Venezuela and a similar Venezuelan office in the United States.
Venezuela had given U.S. diplomats 72 hours to leave after the U.S. recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate president rather than Nicolas Maduro.