Maduro will face ‘swift and severe’ consequences if US diplomats are harmed – US Senator

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Marco Rubio, United States Senator

As tensions continue to rise in Venezuela, US Senator Marco Rubio on Wednesday said that embattled leader Nicolas Maduro will face severe consequences if any harm befalls American diplomats in the South American country.

Rubio’s comments came hours after Maduro broke relations with the US and demanded all consular staff leave the country in 72 hours. Maduro’s breaking of diplomatic relations with the US follows President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier that he is recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate President of Venezuela.

“U.S. diplomats in #Venezuela should present their credentials to President @jguaido. Maduro has no authority to expel anyone,” Rubio tweeted, adding, “And trust me on this one, if Maduro is stupid enough to test @realdonaldtrump by harming any U.S. diplomat, the consequences would be swift & severe.”

In a background call about Venezuela Wednesday, a senior Trump administration official said that “all options are on the table” with regards to possible future actions, including sanctions against the country.

CNN reported that depending on the severity of Nicolás Maduro’s response, Trump is also prepared to take a range of actions to punish him, including possible oil sanctions, two sources familiar with White House deliberations said.