Venezuela: A showdown begins as US President Donald Trump backs the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela. After the announcement, Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela said his government is breaking ties with the US and gave the US diplomats 72 hours to leave the country, NBC reported. Juan Guaido the opposition leader had declared himself the interim president.

Maduro reaction to Trump announcement

Tension started mounting earlier this month when Maduro took the oath of office for the second six-year term.

Violence started up as recently as Wednesday against the Maduro regime and came after the large crowd in Caracas started waving flags and chanted "Get out Maduro". Apart from US President Donald Trump, Canada and other Latin American countries including Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina had also announced that they support Guaido's claim to the presidency.

Hours after Maduro announced breaking off ties with the US, the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said that the US does not recognize the Maduro regime as the country's government and therefore, he does not have the legal authority to break ties with the US. Juan Guaido the opposition leader announced himself as the interim president in order to end Maduro's dictatorship in Venezuela.

Venezuela witnessed high inflation and food shortages during Maduro's tenure as president. US President Donald Trump also promised that the US will use the full weight of the US economy and diplomatic power in order to bring restoration of Venezuela's democracy. After the announcement, Maduro fired back by breaking US-Venezuela relations and ordering US diplomatic personnel to leave the country within 72 hours.

The US-Venezuela relations

The US-Venezuela relations have been characterized as an important trade and investment relationship as well as bringing cooperation in combating illegal drugs. The relationship was strong under the traditional leaders in Venezuela. However, tension rose after Hugo Chevez assumed the role of president in 1999.

Venezuela relies on the USA for the import of super light oil and the US are big purchasers of heavy crude from the Bolivarian Republic. The US and Venezuela maintain diplomatic relations with the respective embassies headed by a charge d'affaires. After Maduro's announcement of breaking ties with the US, Venezuela's minister who holds OPEC's presidency this year faces a headache from the 14-nation producer group.

Amid the showdown, all eyes are on the military during the political disputes in Venezuela.