Venezuela expels German ambassador as crisis continues

Venezuela expels German ambassador as crisis continues

Since the start of the year, Venezuela has been shaken by political unrest sometimes erupting in violence after US -backed opposition leader Juan Guaido announced he was invoking the constitution as head of congress to wrest power from President Nicolas Maduro. "Instead, Maduro [allowed] Juan Guaido back into the country - but many saying today that's revealing his regime's relative weakness and isolation". He had greeted Guaido at Caracas airport on his return to the country on Monday. Agents took Weddle's computer and equipment, the group said.

He added that Germany will continue to recognize Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate interim president and support him in holding fresh elections.

Venezuela's Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the decision to expel Kriener escalated the situation in Venezuela, adding that Germany and Europe's backing for Guaido remains unwavering.

After Venezuela's expulsion order, the German Foreign Ministry said it was co-ordinating how to proceed, "including with our partners on the ground".

Weddle is a graduate of Virginia Tech University and his work has appeared in outlets such as the Miami Herald, WPLG-TV in Miami, the BBC and Al Jazeera English, according to his LinkedIn profile.

His supporters say his re-election was legal and have accused Mr Guaido of violating the constitution.

Khanna, who spearheaded the letter, urged his Democratic colleagues to unite against US -backed regime change and sanctions in an interview with HuffPost on Thursday.

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Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro has cut ties with Colombia after opposition leaders used the neighboring Andean nation as a launching point for humanitarian aid meant to undermine his authority. The guard said the security forces wore jackets indicating that they were from the military intelligence service.

Washington has continued to tighten the screws on its campaign of sanctions to force Maduro from power, revoking the visas of 77 people linked to the regime, including officials and their families.

Officials at the State Department said they are aware of the journalist's detainment.

His last tweet since his disappearance shows him reporting to WPLG about Guaido's return to Caracas.

"Given the current state of relations between the U.S. and Venezuela, having military intelligence arrest a USA citizen, freelance reporter Cody Weddle, seems like unnecessary provocation", he tweeted.

Guaido had flouted a court-imposed travel ban to visit other Latin American countries to drum up support.

But Mr Maduro, a 55-year-old former bus driver and foreign minister, still has powerful backers at home and overseas, namely the Venezuelan armed forces and Russian Federation and China, which have both urged non-interference in the country's internal affairs.