Maduro Breaks U.S. Diplomatic Relations, PNGs Diplomats But — USG Now Recognizes Guaido as Venezuela President

Posted: 1:05 pm PST


What happens next?

On January 23, 2019, Venezuela President Nicholas Maduro  decided to break diplomatic relations with the U.S. government. Apparently, the U.S. diplomats in Venezuela have  72 hours to leave the country. The announcement follows President Trump’s recognition of the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela. As one diplomat points out, if the United States remove its remaining diplomats within 72 hours, that would be a recognition that the Maduro Government is still in power. But if the U.S. doesn’t, what happens then? What protection does the mission gets from the host government that it no longer recognizes?

For now, it looks like there are protests breaking out, and a battle on the Wikipedia page on who is the president of Venezuela is ongoing. This could easily spin out of control beyond that.

The US Embassy in Caracas is currently headed by Jimmy Story, the Chargé d’ Affaires, a.i. who arrived in Caracas in July 2018 from Rio de Janeiro where he served as Consul General.  His previous assignments include Office Director of the INL for the Western Hemisphere, Director of INL Office in Bogota, Colombia, Senior Civilian Representative to in Southeastern Afghanistan, and Political-Economic Chief and Deputy Principal Officer in São Paulo, Brazil.

On January 16, 2019, the State Department issued a “Level 3 Reconsider Travel” advisory for Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens. Also the folowing:

There are shortages of food, electricity, water, medicine, and medical supplies throughout much of Venezuela. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 3 ‘Avoid Nonessential Travel’ notice on May 15, 2018 due to inadequate healthcare and the breakdown of the medical infrastructure in Venezuela. Consular access to detained U.S. citizens who also have Venezuelan nationality is severely restricted by the Venezuelan government and the U.S. Embassy may not receive access in these cases.

Security forces have arbitrarily detained U.S. citizens for long periods. The U.S. Embassy may not be notified of the detention of a U.S. citizen, and consular access to detainees may be denied or severely delayed.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services in certain neighborhoods in Caracas as U.S. government personnel and their families are subject to travel restrictions for their safety and well-being.

to be updated in a bit …