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Venezuelans are revolting against their socialist dictator
On Thursday, the Russian government warned the United States that any military intervention backing the coup in Venezuela would be "catastrophic." The U.S. has so far given no indication that it would intervene militarily.
Here's what we know
Due to years of failed socialist policies and poor leadership, Venezuela's economy has been in a tailspin. Current leader Nicolás Maduro was sworn in this month for a second term following a highly disputed election. Maduro had barred opposition leaders from running against him, and bribed starving people with the promises of food if he won a second term.
On Thursday, the head of Venezuela's National Assembly, Juan Guaido, declared himself interim president of the country, a move allowed under the Venezuelan constitution if there is no legitimate president.
The United States has officially recognized Guaido as the rightful leader of the country, and President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence tweeted their support for him.
The citizens of Venezuela have suffered for too long at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime. Today, I have officially recognized the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela. https://t.co/WItWPiG9jK
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2019
Russia has offered Maduro military support on multiple occasions. Russia and China have lent Venezuela billions of dollars in an attempt to prop up its failing economy.
What did Russia say?
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a Russian News outlet on Thursday, that Russia "warn[s] against" any military intervention by the U.S. in Venezuela.
"We consider that would be a catastrophic scenario that would shake the foundations of the development model which we see in Latin America," he said.
"Venezuela is friendly to us and is our strategic partner," he added. "We have supported them and will support them."
While Trump has promised to provide Guaido with "the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy," he has not indicated that he would intervene militarily to support him.
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