Update: During a speech in Caracas Thursday afternoon, the second since Guaido declared himself the legitimate ruler of Venezuela on Wednesday afternoon, Maduro stuck with his defiant tone, branding the US's refusal to withdraw its diplomatic personnel as "childish" and vowing to remain in power and finish the six-year term he started earlier this month.
- VENEZUELA MADURO SAYS HE'LL STAY IN POWER, FINISH CURRENT TERM
- VENEZUELA'S MADURO: U.S. EMBASSY REFUSAL TO LEAVE IS 'CHILDISH'
- MADURO SAYS VENEZUELA EMBASSY, CONSULATES IN U.S. TO CLOSE
- MADURO: U.S. EMBASSY MUST FULFILL HIS ORDER FOR STAFF TO LEAVE
- VENEZUELA'S MADURO SAYS HE SUPPORTS NATIONAL POLITICAL DIALOG
Earlier, Venezuela's military, clearly unsure who to support during what has become the most credible threat to Maduro's socialist rule since he took power in 2013,
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Speaking at the United Nations Security Council, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and promised that the US would offer some badly needed humanitarian relief to the opposition and its leader Juan Guaido, in the amount of...$20 million.
The time for debate is over, Pompeo said, as he declared Maduro's government illegitimate and "morally bankrupt" before calling on the Venezuelan military to side with the opposition. Under no circumstances should the military resort to acts of violence against Venezuelan civilians, he said.
During his speech, Pompeo reiterated many of the same points from a letter published by the State Department last night where it refused to withdraw US diplomats from Venezuela on the belief that Maduro no longer has the moral authority to make such a call.
U.S. will conduct diplomatic relations with #Venezuela through the government of interim President Guaido. U.S. does not recognize the #Maduro regime. U.S. does not consider former president Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations. https://t.co/DBS4GiGEWI pic.twitter.com/gQZJuS1xfn— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 24, 2019
After a little back-of-the-envelope math, one twitter user calculated that $20 million in aide comes out to roughly 62 cents per Venezuelan.
Wow. Pompeo is promising $20 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuela? That comes out to [maths furiously] 62¢ per person. Which, to be fair, is probably a month's wages at this point but still. Why even say anything, Mike? It just makes us look cheap. So sloppy. https://t.co/1ULZFgMZhu— Paige R. Penland (@paigerpenland) January 24, 2019
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maduro confirmed that they will continue to cooperate in "various spheres" while Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov demanded that the US stop meddling in Venezuela's affairs.
Of course, given the relatively paltry sum promised for humanitarian aid, we can't help but share this scene from Austin Powers.