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Venezuela severs diplomatic ties with Colombia - Maduro

The Venezuelan leader announced this during the rally of his supporters
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro REUTERS/Marco Bello
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro
© REUTERS/Marco Bello

CARACAS, February 23. /TASS/. Venezuela severs diplomatic relations with Colombia, the country’s President Nicolas Maduro told a rally of his supporters in the capital Caracas on Saturday.

"We are severing diplomatic relations with Colombia," the Venezuelan leader said during the event, broadcast live on his Twitter page.

Caracas rally 

The announcement was made as Maduro appeared at a gathering of his supporters on Saturday in Caracas. The gathering, organized by pro-government forces, is taking place amidst opposition protests that urge to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid from neighboring Colombia and Brazil.

During the rally, the Venezuelan leader announced that the coup d'etat in his country had failed, and during the month of destabilization the opposition has failed to achieve anything.

"The coup attempt in Venezuela failed. What have you achieved during these 30 days of destabilization? Nothing!" Maduro said. 

"I govern and will continue to govern our homeland based on the constitution for the benefit of the working people, this is my commitment," the president continued. 

According to Maduro, his life "is entirely devoted to the defense of the motherland." "I am ready to give my life for it," he said.

He went on to say that the US and Colombian governments "have set up shows at the border." "Who did [US President] Donald Trump ever help?" the Venezuelan leader added.

On Saturday, clashes between Maduro's opponents and military and law enforcement were reported in several regions of Venezuela.

Colombia's reaction

In a statement released by Colombian presidential administration’s press service, Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said that Colombian diplomats will leave Venezuela within the shortest possible timeframe.

"For the sake of security of Colombian diplomats, they will head to Colombia as soon as possible," the minister was quoted as saying while in Cucuta, a Colombian city at the Venezuelan border.

He also warned that Nicolas Maduro’s administration will bear responsibility "for any act of aggression committed during next hours or days against Colombian diplomats currently in Venezuela."

On January 23, Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in Caracas. A number of countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him as president.

Venezuela's incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted these actions as an attempted coup and said he was cutting diplomatic ties with Washington. Among countries that voiced support for Maduro are Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey.