Published: Sat, January 26, 2019
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

United Nations rights boss calls for inquiry into Venezuela killings

United Nations rights boss calls for inquiry into Venezuela killings

The move drew condemnation from sitting President Nicolas Maduro, who rejected Guaido's self-proclamation as a US-backed coup.

That sparked a political crisis in Venezuela as a host of countries joined the U.S. in recognizing Guaido and dismissing Maduro as "illegitimate".

European Union countries are drafting an appeal for Venezuela's leader Nicolas Maduro to convene quick elections, with some demanding recognition of Juan Guaido as interim president if he does not, diplomats said. Maduro, in a fiery speech on Wednesday, broke off diplomatic relations with Washington and ordered the US personnel out within 72 hours.

Much of the global community rallied behind Mr Guaido, with Canada and numerous Latin American and European countries announcing that they recognised his claim to the presidency.

Both Guaido, who has not appeared in public since mass anti-government protests on Wednesday, and Maduro were scheduled to hold news conferences on Friday.

Maduro has described Washington's position as "childish". "But we are living in a dictatorship", he said, from an undisclosed location.

Canada, the U.S., Brazil, Germany and other countries have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's president.

United Nations human rights boss Michelle Bachelet called on Friday for an independent investigation into alleged excessive use of force by Venezuelan security forces or allied militia, citing reports of at least 20 people killed this week.

And UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, appealed for dialogue to keep the crisis from spiraling out of control.

The Trump administration says Mr Maduro's order is not legal because the U.S. no longer recognises him as Venezuela's legitimate leader.

Some U.S. diplomats left the embassy in Caracas for the airport on Friday in a convoy escorted by police, according to a Reuters witness, after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro broke off relations with Washington and ordered American personnel out.

"The United States does not recognise the Maduro regime as the government of Venezuela".

Russian Federation has extensive economic interests in Venezuela and has invested billions of dollars in its energy sector.

Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Turkey have voiced their backing for Maduro's government. The three member nations of the Lima Group that have not supported Guaido are Guyana, Saint Lucia and Mexico.

"The United States maintains diplomatic relations with Venezuela and will conduct our relations with Venezuela through the government of interim President Guaido, who has invited our mission to remain in Venezuela", Mr Pompeo said.

His ascent was greeted with excitement by investors holding Venezuela and state oil company PDVSA bonds, which hit their highest level since 2017 despite being nearly entirely in default. The country's oil-based economy, which is wracked by hyperinflation, has collapsed.

That still leaves Guaido struggling against a state unwilling to recognize him and security forces that could jail him, as they did his mentor Leopoldo Lopez - who is under house arrest for leading anti-Maduro protests in 2014.

In the middle-class neighborhood of El Paraiso, National Guard troops launched tear gas at protesters who said they were angry over rising inflation, a shortage of basic goods and a migration crisis that has divided families.

Attention was focused on Venezuela's military, a traditional arbiter of political disputes in the country, as a critical indicator of whether the opposition will succeed in setting up a new government.

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