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    Police secure the area during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2019.

    Venezuelan Defense Minister: Armed Forces Will Defend Constitution, Sovereignty

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (537)
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    Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said Wednesday that the country's military will continue to defend the Venezuelan constitution and national sovereignty, and would not accept an "imposed president."

    Without specifically naming opposition leader Juan Guaido, Padrino told his hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter that while despair and intolerance continue to threaten the country's peace, the military would not accept a president imposed in the shadow of the dark interests or self-proclaimed outside of the law. He added that soldiers would defend the constitution and act as a guarantor of national sovereignty.

    Padrino's remarks came after US President Donald Trump announced earlier on Wednesday that the US recognized Guaido as the interim president of the country. The 35-year-old politician and leader of Venezuela's National Assembly had shortly before declared himself "interim president" after taking his own oath of office. Sitting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro blasted the move, stating that the US government was attempting to stage a coup. Maduro has since cut off diplomatic and political relations with the US, giving American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.

    Footage on social media shows tear gas canisters being thrown into crowds in the country's capital. Four individuals are already reported to have died in protests since Guaido declared himself interim president.

    ​Paraguay, Argentina, Canada, Guatemala and Peru have since recognized Guaido as the interim president following Washington's move.

    Topic:
    Political Crisis in Venezuela (537)

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    defense minister, defense, military, armed forces, Juan Guaido, Nicolas Maduro, United States, Venezuela
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