Maduro raises the stakes, closing Venezuelan offices in the US

President Nicolas Maduro has decided to close Venezuela’s embassy and all its consulates in the United States after the Trump administration recognized the opposition leader as president.
Speaking at Venezuela’s Supreme Court on Thursday, Maduro said diplomats and consulate personnel will return to the Latin America country by Saturday.
Hours before his speech, military commanders and the country’s defense minister expressed allegiance to Maduro.
In military dress uniform and flanked by members of the military’s high command, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said that Maduro was the country’s legitimate leader — and that Washington and other regional powers were trying to “knock out progressive governments that make them uncomfortable.”
“We will not bend to foreign intervention or a government not elected by the people,” Padrino said in an address aired by state broadcaster VTV.
Moments before Padrino spoke, VTV aired messages of support from Venezuela’s eight regional commanders from their military outposts throughout the country.
With two declared leaders, unrest in the streets and foreign powers taking sides, Venezuelans are dealing with a mounting political crisis on top of deep economic troubles.

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