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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced that he is breaking off diplomatic ties with the United States after his American counterpart Donald Trump recognised Opposition leader Juan Guaido as the South American country's interim President. 

Mr Maduro gave all US diplomatic staff in Venezuela 72 hours to leave the country. The Venezuelan President accused the US government of attempting a coup d'etat.

Maduro was sworn-in for a second term earlier this month, following a poll considered a sham by much of the international community.Guaido, the head of the Opposition-controlled legislature, told tens of thousands of his supporters that he was declaring himself as the acting President.

Thousands of Venezuelans are taking to the streets in protest against Maduro. Sixteen people have died during two days of unrest. The Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict said, the deaths were reported in the capital Caracas and across the country.

Guaido said, the protests would continue until Venezuela is liberated. The United Nations has called for reducing tensions in Venezuela. UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said in a press briefing that UN is closely monitoring the situation. He said, UN firmly rejects any kind of political violence, and it will continue to underline the urgent need for all relevant actors to commit to inclusive and credible political negotiations.

The European Union has called for the immediate start of the political process in the South American nation. Venezuela has been in economic freefall for a number of years under Maduro's leadership. Hyperinflation and key shortages, including of food, has forced millions out of the country.



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