Maduro breaks off all relations with Colombia


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks to supporters in Caracas on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, and says he is breaking off all political and diplomatic ties with the Colombian government and gave Colombian officials 24 hours to get out of the country. EFE-EPA/Raul Martinez

CARACAS.- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Saturday that he is breaking off all political and diplomatic ties with the Colombian government and gave Colombian officials 24 hours to get out of the country.

«My patience is exhausted, I can no longer bear it that the territory of Colombia lends itself to aggression against Venezuela, so I have decided to break off all political and diplomatic relations with the fascist government of Colombia,» Maduro told the hundreds of his supporters who were out marching «in defense of the revolution.»

He cried out that Colombian «ambassadors and consuls must leave Venezuela within 24 hours,» and added, «oligarchy, get out…out of here, oligarchy, enough is enough.»

Maduro said it has become obvious «how Colombian territory is being used by the government of Mr. (Ivan) Duque» to attack him, a reference to the help the neighboring country has provided so that the humanitarian aid stored there can be transported into Venezuela.

«Never before has a Colombian president fallen so low or has worked against Venezuela the way Mr. Ivan Duque has done, never before, never – it’s like he’s throwing stones,» Maduro said. «He has the face of a little angel but I’d like to grab his cheeks and say…you’re the devil, Ivan Duque.»

For several months humanitarian aid has been stored at the Colombian border city of Cucuta to meet the needs of Venezuela, a country that for some five years has suffered severe shortages of food and medicines.

On Friday the «Venezuela Aid Live» concert was held in Cucuta with the participation of 30 local and international artists to hail the arrival of humanitarian aid. Opposition leader Juan Guaido made an appearance at the event, a month after proclaiming himself the interim president of Venezuela.

Guaido is staying in Cucuta and has been received and accompanied not only by Duque, but also by the presidents of Chile, Sebastian Piñera, and of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benitez, as well as by Secretary General Luis Almagro of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Maduro called him «the devil in person.»

The Venezuelan president also said this Saturday that under no circumstances will he ever «bow down» to those people and asked the military, the militia and his supporters to defend him if ever he is ousted.

«My life is dedicated solely to the defense of the homeland, and under no circumstances will I ever bow down. I will never surrender, I will always defend our homeland with my own life if it is necessary to defend it,» the president told the thousands of supporters who poured into the streets of Caracas «to defend the revolution.»

In his statement he asked the military, militia and supporters to come out in a «civil-military union…if something happens to me someday.»

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