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U.S. accepts new political envoy for Venezuelan 'interim' government

By
Darryl Coote
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday the U.S. had accepted Venezuela’s interim government’s selection of Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as its diplomatic envoy. Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday the U.S. had accepted Venezuela’s interim government’s selection of Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as its diplomatic envoy. Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Amid Venezuela's leadership crisis, the U.S. State Department said it's accepted the interim Caracas government's appointment of a new political envoy.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Sunday the department accepted the selection of Carlos Alfredo Vecchio as Venezuela's Chargé d'Affaires to the United States.

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"Mr. Vecchio will have authority over diplomatic affairs in the United States on behalf of Venezuela," Pompeo said.

Vecchio met with U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, who reaffirmed support for opposition leader Juan Guaido -- whom the U.S. administration considers Venezuela's interim president.

"The United States looks forward to working with Mr. Vecchio and other diplomatic staff as designated by interim President Guaido," Pompeo said.

Brazil has followed the United States' recognition of Guaido as interim president, but most other nations have not. Officially, Nicolas Maduro still holds the office, although violent protests in Venezuela in recent weeks have created a leadership crisis in the South American nation.

Maduro has repeatedly said that the push to remove him from power is part of a military coup by the United States, and that Guaido is its political puppet.

In response to U.S. support for Guaido, Maduro demanded late last week that all American diplomats must leave his country within 72 hours, a demand he's since walked back after a U.S. threat of "appropriate actions" against those responsible if harm came to its citizens.

Maduro suspended the deportation threat Sunday to allow a 30-day window for negotiations, the New York Post reported.

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