Nicolás Maduro spoke from the balcony of Venezuela’s presidential palace Wednesday, where he announced he was officially breaking political and diplomatic relations with the US and ordered all consular staff to leave the country within the next 72 hours, CNN reports.
“The imperial government of the United States is leading a coup attempt against us in order to install a puppet presidency that they can control in Venezuela,” Maduro said during the speech, which was live on state broadcaster VTV.
“I have decided to break all political and diplomatic relations with the US. Get out! Leave Venezuela. We have (our) dignity dammit!” he said.
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.
The remarks comes as President Trump announced earlier that he is recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela.
“In regards to the options, frankly in our sanctions, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what actually the United States can take from an economic sanctions front,” the senior administration official said.
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.
Later when asked about possible actions that the United States could take, the senior official reiterated:
“When we say all options are on the table, it means all options are on the table.”
“Now if they choose the route of violence and seek to usurp the constitutional order and democracy, let us be clear, that we have a host of options. We will take every single one of those options seriously,” the official cautioned.
“The message to Maduro and his cronies will be that — if that is the route they choose — it will be very clear to them … they will have no immediate future. They will have no immediate livelihood. And therefore, one way or another, have their days counted.” (CNN)