US will keep diplomats in Venezuela, says Pompeo
The US defied orders by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to vacate diplomatic staff, saying Wednesday it will conduct relations through opposition leader Juan Guaido who it earlier recognized as the country's interim president.
"MADURO HAS NO LEGAL AUTHORITY"
"The United States does not recognize the Maduro regime as the government of Venezuela," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. "The United States does not consider former president Nicolas Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the United States or to declare our diplomats persona non grata."
President Donald Trump earlier Wednesday declared Guaido, the National Assembly president, to be the legitimate leader of Venezuela, urging other western hemisphere governments to follow suit while insisting Washington will maintain economic and diplomatic pressure on Maduro's government.
Maduro slammed the decision and said his country was cutting off diplomatic relations with the US, giving American diplomats three days to leave the country.