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El Salvador gives Venezuelan diplomats 48 hours to leave, backs Guaido

President of El Salvador Nayib Bukele (Photo by AFP)

El Salvador has expelled Caracas’ diplomats, voicing support for a bid by the senior Venezuelan opposition figure, Juan Guaido, to grab power from the country’s elected government.

The El Salvador government said in a statement released on late Saturday that the Venezuelan diplomats serving under Maduro have 48 hours to leave the country.

“In the near future, El Salvador awaits the receipt of credentials for Venezuela’s new diplomatic representation,” the statement added.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele recognized US-backed Guaido as Venezuela’s figurehead.

In a memo posted on his Twitter account, Bukele said his government “recognized the legitimacy of the interim president, Juan Guaido, until free elections can be held, in accordance with the Venezuelan constitution.”

The US ambassador to El Salvador, Ronald Johnson, quickly approved the move.

“We applaud the government of Nayib Bukele for ensuring that El Salvador is on the right side of history by recognizing Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela,” he tweeted in Spanish shortly after El Salvador made its announcement.

Backed by the US and its allies, Guaido pushed Venezuela into political turmoil last year by rejecting the outcome of the May 2018 presidential election — which was won by Maduro — and declaring himself “interim president.”

Washington, along with its European and regional allies, recognized Guaido as new leader of the oil-rich country. They have been pushing other countries to sever ties with Caracas and recognize Guaido.

Guaido has, however, failed in his attempts to topple Maduro despite enjoying firm support from the US, who has slapped crippling sanctions on Venezuela’s already struggling economy and threatened such restrictive measures against any country working with Caracas.

Caracas has repeatedly called on Guaido to drop its US-backed coup bid and engage, instead, in dialog with the government.

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