- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Hours after the Trump administration called for him to step down, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday he’s breaking all ties with the U.S. and is giving American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.

His comments come amid a series of stunning developments in the US. approach to the embattled country. Mr. Trump earlier Wednesday said his administration no longer considers Mr. Maduro the rightful leader of Venezuela and instead recognizes Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president.

President Trump later said that all options are on the table with respect to Mr. Maduro, and White House officials would not rule out military force, along with lesser measures such as economic sanctions or an oil embargo.

Speaking to supporters at his presidential palace, Mr. Maduro reacted angrily.

“Before the people and nations of the world and as constitutional president … I’ve decided to break diplomatic and political relations with the imperialist U.S. government,” he said.

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